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by Miki Purnell

Miki Purnell's Debut Album (a Japanese physician/musician living in the San Diego area)

Sample music video available - Please click on the second thumbnail on the right of the image above.

Born in Japan, Ms. Purnell has lived in the United States since 1998. She has a beautiful voice, a wide range, and a real feeling for jazz. On this spirited album, the singer is joined by flutist Lori Bell, pianist Tamir Hendelman (Dave MacKay plays piano on “A Night In Tunisia” and his two compositions), guitarist Joey Carano, bassist Bob Magnusson, drummer Kevin Koch, and percussionist Tomy Aros.

The set begins with a slightly funky and modernized version of “On Green Dolphin Street” which has some fine work on guitar by Joey Carano, casting new light on a familiar standard. Miki gives Toots Thielemans’ “Bluesette” a great deal of joy. After singing the melody, her improv evolves logically into some happy scatting. A tradeoff by Bell and Hendelman, a bit of percussion, and a closing vocal that is climaxed by Miki’s interplay with the flutist over a closing vamp help make this a memorable version. 

Miki’s singing is warm and expressive on “Estate” which features one of Tamir Hendelman’s most creative piano solos of the album. Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia” has been recorded many times, but I cannot think of another version that uses a koto. It was Miki’s idea for her koto teacher Reiko Obata to play on that piece. Miki’s inventive scatting and her high notes (as she sings “Lift me higher”) are quite colorful. 

Dave MacKay’s “Like Me,” which featured the late Vicki Hamilton’s singing in the 1960s, is a wistful medium-tempo ballad that focuses on Miki’s appealing voice and her interpretation of the lyrics. “Swinging On A Star” was a hit for Bing Crosby in the 1940s movie Going My Way. While this rendition is modernized a bit, it retains the optimistic philosophy of the original version and swings throughout. “Sexy Sexy,” one of two Miki Purnell originals on the set, has her and Lori Bell perfectly complementing each other. 

Very few vocalists have recorded Alec Wilder’s “Moon & Sand” but Miki puts plenty of feeling into the words and sounds quite at home during the atmospheric medium-tempo ballad. Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” has strong contributions by Bell and Hendelman. Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness Of You” is taken as a brief but effective duet by the singer with Hendelman.

Dave MacKay’s “Free,” a pretty jazz waltz that has excellent piano by the composer and a haunting and inventive version of “The Island” (which has some very nice flute playing) precede the closer, Miki Purnell’s other original, “Sunny San Diego Sunday.” The latter song is about the joy of taking a little time off and getting away from the day-to-day pressures of life. 

All in all, this is a very impressive debut from Miki Purnell, a jazz singer who deserves to be widely heard.

Scott Yanow, author of ten books including The Jazz Singers, Swing, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76

Product Details

零售商 Japan
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Track list

1. On Green Dolphin Street
2. Bluesette
3. Estate
4. A Night in Tunisia
5. Like Me
6. Swingin' On a Star
7. Sexy, Sexy
8. Moon and Sand
9. Maiden Voyage
10. The Nearness of You
11. Free
12. The Island
13. Sunny San Diego Sunday

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[CD] Swingin’ to the Sea

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