JazzTimes - p.101
"Luxuriating in a scintillating Latin groove, the seasoned Manhattan Transferee puts her singularly intelligent stamp on well-chosen selections..."
Personnel: Janis Siegel (vocals, background vocals); Janis Siegel; Edmar Casta¤eda (harp); John Ben¡tez (acoustic bass, bass guitar, 6-string bass, background vocals); Brian Lynch (trumpet, flugelhorn); Edsel Gomez (piano, background vocals); Luisito Quintero (drums, percussion, background vocals); Steve Hass (drums, background vocals); Marlon Saunders (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Fran Cathcart.
Recording information: Eastside Sound, New York, NY (06/13/2005-06/16/2005).
Photographer: Luciana Pampalone.
Arranger: Edsel Gomez.
The ninth solo album by Janis Siegel -- an accomplished leader who is nevertheless most famous for her membership in the vocal jazz quartet Manhattan Transfer -- is something that you almost certainly never saw coming: a collection of modern pop songs arranged in an assortment of Latin styles. Gimmicky? Willfully bizarre? Amazingly enough, it's neither. Siegel's strong, supple voice and her consummate taste allow her to bring something new and often subtly complex to every song, without indulging in unnecessary weirdness. Granted, her gifts aren't always sufficient to redeem mediocre material: Bj”rk's "Hidden Place" gives her very little melodic substance to work with, and it makes for an unpromising opening track. But her take on Nellie McKay's "The Suitcase Song" is much more exciting, and the multi-layered Cuban percussion on "I Can't Help It" is brilliant. Even better is the Colombian harp solo on her rendition of Suzanne Vega's "Caramel," and the multi-tracked background vocals on her arrangement of Paul Simon's "Love" are breathtaking. There are many more such moments on this exceptionally fine album. Strongly recommended to jazz and pop fans alike. ~ Rick Anderson