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The Sultry Collection: The Julie London Set List
When sultry singer Lyn Stanley approaches a song, she immerses herself in research till she’s satisfied she can make the tune her own. These days, the Southern California-based jazz vocalist has her laser focus on another SoCal chanteuse, Julie London, a frequent presence on radio airwaves in the 1950s and ’60s with hits like “Cry Me a River.”
The upcoming Julie London-inspired project is the sixth release for vocalist Lyn Stanley, who was discovered in 2011 by the iconic pianist Paul Smith, a studio giant who was Ella Fitzgerald’s musical director and frequent collaborator over several decades. Lyn put out her first album in 2013, and since then has released four others to critical and popular acclaim. Her 2017 dual release, The Moonlight Sessions, Volume One and Volume Two, reaped glowing reviews and stellar sales—earning more than $200,000, a rare figure in the tiny independently produced jazz market. (Jazz overall accounted for only 1.2 percent of total music album consumption in 2017, according to Statista.com.)
Later this year Lyn has a date with the recording studio, where she’ll concentrate on songs associated with London. A long-time Julie London fan, Lyn recalls: “I unknowingly had her songs in my repertoire, and when my first album came out and critics compared me to her, it was a pleasant surprise. Julie had to get in character, get into the part, as a way to decide how the music should be delivered.”
While both Lyn and London could be described as sultry and sophisticated singers, the upcoming session will be an appreciation, not an imitation. Not only will Stanley put her own distinctive stamp on material London performed—a set list, if you will—she has also compiled a list of tunes she wishes London had tried on for size. “I have an ‘I wish’ category—songs that were popular in that era that she missed, and most on my list are love songs. She seemed to pick songs that avoided declarations of her emotions and strong love connections, like the song ‘It’s Impossible’ ”
In addition to acclaim for her velvety alto, choice of material, and her unique and personal approach to songs, Stanley’s attention to detail in the studio has garnered raves. This new project reunites Lyn with legendary recording engineer Al Schmitt, who has earned 22 Grammys, 160 gold and platinum albums, plus a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Al not only worked with Julie London, the twosome recorded together in the same studio he and Lyn will use in December.
Lyn can be counted on to surround herself in the studio with the crème de la crème of musicians. For this venture, she’s aiming for the intimate sound of piano, bass, drums/percussion, and guitar, with possibly a horn soloist added. The band lineup hasn’t been finalized, but previous collaborators have included including pianist Mike Lang, bassists Chuck Berghofer and Mike Valerio, guitarist John Chiodini, percussionists/drummers Luis Conte, Aaron Serfaty and Paul Kreibich. All musicians are subject to change.
Always the perfectionist, Lyn looks forward to recording some of the tunes direct-to-disc. “You have to be into the musical moment. There’s pressure on everyone—me, the musicians—we have to be totally prepared. But it’s a great format if we execute it well.” We are planning on this album to be pressed by Record Technology Inc. with a February 2019 delivery date.
Stay tuned for more details on this exciting project. including a worldwide touring show. Who knows, this could be the start of a great new series of tribute albums from the ever-creative Lyn Stanley.