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Various Artists: Jazz Loves Disney

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Jazz Loves Disney
Jazz Loves Disney

The notion that jazz singers love Disney tunes is hardly new, the relationship stretching from Johnny Mercer’s 1947 rendition of Song of the South’s Oscar-winning “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” to Steve Tyrell’s Disney Standards, from 2006. Never, though, has so ambitious or smartly executed a Disney-themed collection of vocal jazz been assembled as this.

Recorded in 2014 and 2015 across sessions spanning London, Paris, New York and L.A., Jazz Loves Disney is overcrowded with A-listers, all in top form: Gregory Porter’s haunting “When You Wish Upon a Star”; Jamie Cullum’s frisky “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat”; Melody Gardot coyly channeling Peggy Lee on “He’s a Tramp” and teaming with Italian crooner Raphael Gualazzi for a sprightly spin through “The Bare Necessities”; and, in French, Stacey Kent reimagining Cinderella’s “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” as a cozy bossa nova. Reinterpretation en français is a recurring theme, with an impressively mature Nikki Yanofsky serving up a sultry “Un jour mon prince viendra” (“Someday My Prince Will Come”) and Miz Elizabeth’s Hot Sardines revitalizing The Jungle Book’s “I Wanna Be Like You” as what might best be described as Left-Bank Dixieland.

Less-familiar names add equally fine performances, among them a Connick-esque “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Hugh Coltman and a delicate handling of Frozen’s “Let It Go” by Anne Sila, a victor on the French version of The Voice. If there’s a sour note it’s the sole instrumental track, an overly lush “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from the Rob Mounsey Orchestra that feels entirely out of place.

Originally Published