I’ve honestly been putting off reviewing this album for some time. It’s not because of Leslie Vincent. After seeing her live over the summer at an outdoor show, I knew I loved her and she could do no wrong. It was more I’ve been intimidated by the fact that this album is full of covers. The covers are all jazz standards and other tracks in the vein. That’s a vein I don’t dabble in. My dad is the jazzman in my family and it just never quite did it for me. I’ve been so nervous to review this album because I don’t know what the original tracks sound like but that’s kind of part of the fun, right?
Leslie kicks off this album with “Just Squeeze Me (But Please Don’t Tease Me)” by Duke Ellington. As soon as Leslie’s voice came in, I was transported back to that warm summer night surrounded by one of my besties and her family as we watched Leslie perform this track live. As much as I miss live music, I’m so glad people like Leslie are able to transport you there with just the amount of energy and care they put into their recordings. This track is a perfect example. Everything about this track is perfect from the brilliant guitar solo to Leslie’s smoother than wine vocals. Honestly, my intimidation about reviewing this album has shifted from intimidation over the cover aspect to the fear that I may just get lost in this album and forget to write about a track altogether.
Leslie’s voice is distinct but it’s so versatile. You can hear that clearly during her rendintion of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” by Thomas “Fats” Waller. Although still perfectly smooth and jazzy, there’s something just a little more playful in this track that made me smile from ear to ear. Although my ears were completely captivated by Leslie’s voice, all of the solos throughout this track also had me captivated. I honestly didn’t know I could fall so in love with a trumpet solo but, like her voice, you can feel the passion in every note from every musician on this track (and album for that case).
Leslie titled her album after “These Foolish Things” by Jack Strachey and honestly, it’s clear why as soon as this track comes in. Leslie brings a sense of warmth with this track that instantly had me pulling my softest blanket over my shoulders and just getting lost in every word. Sure, these are covers and I have no clue what the originals sound like but I really don’t know how anyone could top the beauty that Leslie brings to this track. Although the beauty continues into “My Baby Just Cares For Me” (by Walter Donaldson), the vocals take a more playful turn. Still smooth, still beyond talented, I like that you can feel that Leslie is having fun while singing this song. That’s the key to doing covers. You have to find songs that hold a piece of you in them and it’s obvious that’s just what Leslie has done with this selection.
“Ev’rything I’ve got” made me instantly grab Artie (the cat) and start dancing around my living room with him. What a fun energy in this track. The piano really comes forward in this track and, as you may have caught onto if you’ve been reading my posts for a while, I’m a sucker for piano. By the time I had finally given up forcing Artie to dance the tango with me through my living room, “Ev’rything I’ve Got” had been replaced by “The Nearness of You” (originally by Hoagy Carmichael). Although I was absolutely digging the upbeat and dancey vibe of the previous track, the warmth that “The Nearness Of You” brought was relaxing and more of the speed I was looking for tonight with my bedtime looming ahead of me. This is absolutely one of those “drift away” songs in all the right ways. Even though it whisks you away to dreamland, Leslie’s voice keeps you grounded in the best way possible.
A gorgeous piano part kicks off “(Our) Love Is Here To Stay” (written by George Gershwin). Much like during “The Nearness Of You”, I found myself drifting off throughout this track but not to the point where I had lost the music. I can’t quite explain it but somehow Leslie’s voice keeps you grounded and from getting completely lost in your head while allowing you room to drift. It’s truly an amazing quality that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. This song also features Emily Dussault who, like Leslie, has just an absolutely stunning voice. Although this is the only track Emily is on, I do hope to hear more from these two because their voices blend so perfectly together.
I specifically remember Leslie playing “Rhode Island Is Famous For You” (by Arthur Schwartz) when I saw her over the summer and, again, I was instantly transported back to that summer night when this track filled my house. Much like is “Aint Misbehavin'”, there’s an undeniable aspect of playfulness in Leslie’s vocals throughout this track. Another element I feel is a more theatrical and almost musical vibe. I’m a musical geek so this is completely up my alley. The playfulness added with the story I remember Leslie telling about this track when at the show all make this my favorite track on this album. That being said, “Teach Me Tonight” (by Gene De Paul) definitely gave it a run for its money as far as being my favorite. There’s something sultry and soulful about Leslie’s vocals in this one that is absolutely addicting. It’s a beautiful track. There’s really nothing more that can be said.
Leslie vincent closes this album out with a beautiful rendition of “Moon River” by Henry Mancini. This is such a cute and simple song but oh, so stunning. With just a ukelele and Leslie’s gorgeous voice, it really ends this already amazing album on a dazzling note.
Yeah, sure, go ahead and judge me for not knowing the originals. I’m sure I’ll get a call from my father tomorrow about it. Regardless, Leslie Vincent has such a shining personality and beautiful voice– covers or not, this is a truly beautiful album. I’ll admit, this was not my normal listen, but something this beautiful deserves to be heard by everyone.
My Favorite Track(s): “Rhode Island Is Famous For You”
For Fans Of: Beauty; Jazz music; Stunning Vocals
Daydream-ability: 8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie bolted upstairs as soon as I put him down from our dancing date; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9.5 out of 10 (Trick question- I know how amazing Leslie is live)
My Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
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