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October 2007

Annette Sanders & Bob Florence
You Will Be My Music
MAMA Records

When done right, few jazz experiences are as sweetly, soothingly satisfying as voice, piano and nothing more. Tony Bennett’s teamings with Bill Evans come immediately to mind, as does Bill Charlap’s pairing with his mother, singer Sandy Stewart, on 2005’s Love Is Here to Stay. This union of veteran keyboardist, producer, arranger and bandleader Bill Florence and comparative neophyte Annette Sanders (widely recognized for her film and commercial work, but lesser known for the quartet of jazz discs she’s headlined in recent years) is of the same caliber.

Florence’s feathery touch, as softly inviting as waves lapping against a sandy shore, provides satin foundation for Sanders, whose slight but appealing voice suggests both the plaintive theatricality of Barbara Cook and the honeyed playfulness of Blossom Dearie. It’s hardly unexpected that such temperately reflective tunes as “Never Let Me Go,” “You Must Believe In Spring,” “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and “How Deep Is the Ocean” work beautifully in so placid and tender a setting.

The real surprises are a blushingly coy “Kissing Bug” and a treatment of “Come Fly With Me” that soars on downy wings (the antithesis of Sinatra’s booze-fueled, jet-set version). Segueing into an equally angelic reading of Ivan Lins’ “The Island,” it is as hypnotic as a gurgling waterfall backlit by a shimmering sunset.

Originally published in October 2007
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