Vocalist/pianist CAROL WELSMAN has a new album, Alone Together, which she calls, “my truest to the jazz form to date.” It is an impressive eleven-song outing with the sublime support of Wallace Roney on trumpet, Jay Azzolina on guitar, Rufus Reid on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. Welsman is a creative singer with a rich vocal instrument, and she also plays terrific piano. When it comes to choosing tunes, her taste is as hip as her choice of musicians. The program starts with five standards, Day by Day, It Might As Well Be Spring, Sand in My Shoes, My Ship and Alone Together, each a fine song that has not been overdone.

Welsman adds her own twists to each, making them sound fresh and special. Things then become a bit more esoteric. Disappointed has lyrics that Eddie Jefferson set to part of a solo by Charlie Parker on Lady Be Good. If the Moon Turns Green is one of those tunes that acts like a magnet for good jazz singers. You Taught My Heart to Sing is the result of an unlikely collaboration between McCoy Tyner and Sammy Cahn.  

Joe Derise was among the hippest of singer/pianists, and he concocted the wonderful The Blues Are out of Town with lyricist Marcia Hillman, a song deserving of more than the few recordings that it has had to date. It is always a pleasure to hear the Duke Ellington/Bob Russell gem, I Didn’t Know About You. The last selection is by Jule Styne and Carolyn Leigh, Killing Time, ironically Leigh’s last lyric. Put all of this together, and you have a vocal album that is bound to make a lot of year-end lists of favorite albums.

Joe Lang – Jersey Jazz