3 stars out of 5 - "The feeling of unrequited love she eases into 'Something I Dreamed Last Night' is almost palpable, the strings exquisitely underscoring and extending the mood."
2.Wild Is the Wind
4.Something I Dreamed Last Night
5.Love Me Tender / How Sweet You Are
7.One More Walk Around the Garden
8.Portrait of Helen Merrill
Personnel: Helen Merrill (vocals); Alan Merrill (vocals, guitar, double bass); Lew Soloff (trumpet); Torrie Zito (piano, electric piano, keyboards); George Mraz (double bass).
On LILAC WINE, the eminent jazz singer Helen Merrill (whose fans have included everyone from great jazz arranger Gil Evans to Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood) applies her magnificent voice to an inspired selection of standards, forgoing any hackneyed old warhorses. Merrill's mellow tones weave their way through a moody setting reminiscent of Frank Sinatra albums like IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING. Swelling strings, muted trumpet, and exquisitely spare arrangements frame pensive lyrics embraced by a masterful singer with a gentle, seen-it-all tone.
Arrangements and piano by Torrie Zito (he's also worked with Tony Bennett and Sinead O'Connor) underscore the reflective temperament of the songs and Merrill's gentle, worldly wise vocals perfectly. Not for Merrill are showy displays of "technique"--her sublime singing draws attention to the song rather than the singer. If you savor the classic ballad style of Chris Connor, Nat "King" Cole, and Peggy Lee, you'll find LILAC WINE intoxicating.