It’s wonderfully curious why an artist like Simone Kopmajer, whose discography as a world renowned jazz interpreter, songwriter and purveyor of spirited, swinging originals goes back to 2003, would call her latest album Spotlight on Jazz.
As you listen, it hits you – she’s taking us on a multi-faceted, impeccably arranged journey through multiple moods and sub-styles of the art form (from big band to New Orleans, subtle Latin and hipster contemporary), all artfully immersed in a warm, intimate throwback 40’s-50’s vibe driven by a pulsating quartet featuring saxophonist Terry Myers (current leader of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra) and pianist Paul Urbanek.
The way she modulates her voice from the sensual, come hither tone of “Ponciana” to the deeper bluesiness on the Louis Armstrong associated novelty “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” will make instant fans out of those previously unitiated to her multitude of talents and charms. But the real hook is the playful spirit she brings throughout. Anyone who can master Louis after gracing us with an original ode to “I Dream of Jeannnie” (“Remember Jeannie”) with images of the beach, bottle, Cocoa Beach and Major Nelson is a true, wit-filled original whose deeper catalog is worth diving into.