FRESH VOCALISTS…Nina Hennessey: With A Song, Les Grant: Way Forward Way Back

Here are a couple singers, one female, one male, who keep tabs with the standards as well as more modern material and attitudes.

Nina Nennessey displays her Broadway background in her approach with an adroit team of Don Rebic/key, Jeff Ganz/b, Sean Harkness/g and  Ray Marchica/dr. She has a conversational approach in her lower register that is intimate and warm as on the finger snapping “Sometimes I’m Happy” and the slinky “Tre Giorni son Che Nina” while you can feel the actress in her on “falling In Love With Love” and “Mornin’”. She has a cumulous softness when she goes in the upper range as on “New Valley” and when she teams up with Ganz on “Willow Weep For Me.” Her diversity of delivery is impressive, and she makes each syllable count.

I detest when every young singer is called “The Next Sinatra.” Les Grant sounds like Les Grant, and that’s fine with me. He’s got a tenor for a voice, and makes it work well with a team of John Chin/p, Dan Rieser/dr, Matt Pavolka/b, and John Ellis/sax. His slightly sandied voice is sleek on “Blue Skies,” and he saunters cozily up to the fire like the boy next door on “I’m Old Fashioned.” He’s got a nice way of toying with his vibrato, as on the hip “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” and “I Get Along Without You…” while can be laconic and lonely on “Angel Eyes.” Elis’ sax is nice and bluesy on “One For My  Baby” and the whole band shakes like a Bond Martini on “ You and the Night and the Music.’ A cooker!

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