Review: “Major credit must go to Ms Stanley’s radiant vocal artistry”

Lyn Stanley has surrounded herself with an outstanding cast of 13 of Los Angeles’ and New York’s finest musicians, assembled with full clarity of purpose to create the perfect environment for every selection. Potions [from the 50s] digs deeply into the riches of some of the most popular songs composed during the 1950s. Many of these songs are welded in memory to the performers who created the original versions. But Lyn has accomplished the goal of all great vocalists by making every song entirely her own. Some of this is due to her conceptual skills and the extraordinary talents of her arrangers. Returning from her previous album are the brilliant tandem of Tamir Hendelman and Steve Rawlins, but also joined here by Werner, Bill Cunliffe and Mike Lang – all three of whom provide their formidable pianistic wizardry as well – and Lyn herself.

But the major credit must go to Ms Stanley’s radiant vocal artistry. Her flawless intonation and sumptuous warmth combine with a full bodied resonance whether in the darkest deep tones a la Sarah Vaughan or the penetrating register where Dinah Washington lived. Her lyrics – precisely enunciated, perfectly phrased and vividly rhythmic – tell her stories not only through the words, but in the emotional content with which she sings them. There is a theatrical quality of expression that is embodied in dance – the first discipline of artistic expression she embraced – with a grace and sensuality that coats every syllable she sings with a fluidity that is simply mesmerizing. Clearly this is an artist who knows both her intent and the methodology to pursue in order to achieve it.

The ensemble is Vocals: Lyn Stanley, Piano/Organ: Kenny Werner, Bill Cunliffe, Mike Lang; Bass: Johannes Weidermeuller and Mike Valerio; Drums: Joe La Barbera, Ari Hoenig, John Robinson; Soloists: Glenn Drewes (trumpet/flugelhorn), Thom Rotella (guitar), Rickey Woodard (tenor saxophone), Tom Rainer (clarinet) and Luis Conte (percussion)
Lullaby Of Birdland
Cry Me A River
Fly Me To The Moon
Hey There
I’m Walkin’
You Don’t Know Me
In The Still Of The Night
The Thrill Is Gone
A Summer Place
Love Potion #9
Teach Me Tonight
After The Lights Go Down Low
The Party’s Over
[Bonus Track]: The Man I Love

A bit of nostalgia, some memories for warm and sad, Lyn Stanley covers them all with her inimitable class.
-Grady Harp, November 14