Joel Siegel

Joel’s Contributions


May 2000    Albums

Simple Pleasures
Phil Kidder

Either this CD is a joke, as implied by the vocalist's last name, or a misbegotten vanity production. Singing with the spare accompaniment of only two guitars nakedly exposes a performer's strengths and weaknesses. Few if any of the former are noticeable...


May 2000    Albums

Joe Williams Presents Nicole Yarling
Nicole Yarling

There's no mystery why the late Joe Williams chose to become Nicole Yarling's mentor. In a February 1998 concert recorded at Pittsburgh's Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, the Brooklyn-raised, Florida-based singer-violinist performs with the same infectious...


April 2000    Books

Girl Singer: An Autobiography
Rosemary Clooney (with Joan Barthel)

In 1977, Rosemary Clooney published her first autobiography, This for Remembrance, recounting her youthful ascent from poverty to stardom, followed by a troubled marriage, depression, drug addiction and mental collapse, and upliftingly capped by a successful...


April 2000    Albums

The Savoy Years and More
Jimmy Scott

No male jazz or pop singer, not even Ray Charles drowning in his own tears or Frank Sinatra in the wee small hours, has expressed heartache as movingly as Little Jimmy Scott. After joining Lionel Hampton's band in 1948, the diminutive balladeer hovered at...


January/February 2000    Albums

All in Good Time
Asa Harris

Singer-pianist Ace Harris' daughter and trumpeter-bandleader Erskine Hawkins' niece, Asa Harris continues her family's musical heritage in her debut album. Harris' experience as a stage, film, and television actress is evident in her forceful vocal projection...


January/February 2000    Albums

The "Le Ruban Bleu" Years: The Complete Recordings 1944-1949
Maxine Sullivan

Maxine Sullivan's 1937 recording of "Loch Lomond" made her an overnight star with major label contracts, her own CBS radio show and a featured role in the Warner Brothers movie Going Places. But by 1944, she'd grown tired of battling with agents and managers...


January/February 2000    Albums

Love Always
Maxine Sullivan

Love Always finds Sullivan, a month shy of her 76th birthday, sounding as sprightly as ever on a tasty program of upbeat rhythm tunes and romantic ballads. Although the passage of time is evident in slightly lowered keys and diminished breath control, she...


January/February 2000    Albums

George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess
Various Artists

Avenue Jazz has resurrected Bethlehem's ambitious, bizarre jazz interpretation of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, originally released in 1956 as a three-LP set. The short-lived label drew on its stable of singers and instrumentalists to create what was...


January/February 2000    Albums

Warm Cool
Chris Connor

Chris Connor's most distinctive qualities are her daredevil sense of time and her signature sound. She swings at all tempos, phrasing so far ahead or behind the beat that you fear she'll never reclaim it, but somehow she always does. The complex timbre of...


January/February 2000    Albums

The Complete Lamplighter Recordings 1945-46
Kay Starr

"Wheel of Fortune," Kay Starr's 1952 hit single, made her an international pop star, bringing her commercial success following a 15-year career as a critically acclaimed but low-profile jazz singer. In her mid-teens, the Oklahoma-born vocalist toured with...


January/February 2000    Albums

Live at Freddy's 1986
Kay Starr

Live at Freddy's 1986 finds Starr performing in a jazz context, backed by a quartet featuring pianist Frankie Ortega, guitarist John Basile, bassist John Goldsby and drummer Ron Zito. Her repertoire ranges from Dixieland classics ("You Gotta See Mama Every...


January/February 2000    Albums

The Legendary Lee Wiley: Collectors' Items 1931-1955
Lee Wiley

Lee Wiley, the quintessential cult vocalist, left a relatively small legacy of recordings, but her relaxed, intimate style has influenced a number of jazz-oriented singers, among them Peggy Lee, Jeri Southern, and Barbara Lea. Collectors' Items 1931-1955...


January/February 2000    Albums

Live at Birdland 1962
Dinah Washington

From the late '50s through her death in 1963, Dinah Washington largely abandoned recording in jazz settings and focused, with considerable commercial success, on Top 40 singles and string-laden ballad albums. However, in nightclub and concert appearances...


January/February 2000    Albums

You May Never Know
Diane Witherspoon

Recorded in 1991 but just released, this ambitious project seamlessly fuses the talents of composer-pianist Cedar Walton, sibling lyricists John and Paula Hackett, and singer Diane Witherspoon. The Hacketts succeed in carrying off the daunting task of setting...


December 1999    Albums

The Marble Faun
Nancy Harrow

Singer-composer-lyricist Nancy Harrow continues her musical exploration of American literature, begun with her 1994 adaptation of Willa Cather's novella, A Lost Lady, in this song cycle based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's last novel, The Marble Faun. Although...


December 1999    Albums

The Complete Anita O'Day Verve/Clef Sessions
Anita O'Day

A critic once advised Anita O'Day to clear her throat before singing; another characterized her sound as "strangulated." As she candidly observed in her 1981 memoir, High Times Hard Times, "I knew I didn't have any chops, but I also knew I had a lot of heart...

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About Joel Siegel