I first heard the charming singer Svetlana Shmulyian in a secret East Village nightspot. I liked her easy way with melodies and her comfortable interaction with the band.
But this new mini-CD (three songs, ten minutes) is an even more pleasurable experience — simply because the color and texture of her voice come through beautifully, as does the delightful music surrounding her.
Svetlana seems right at home with swing. She rides the rhythm easily; she invents new little melodic twists and turns without trying too hard. She sounds like a grown woman rather than a grown woman trying to be a little girl, and (no small thing) she has a pleasing voice, not thin or wandering around the pitch.
On this winter-themed CD — perfectly appropriate for a day like today when the temperature stayed at twenty-one degrees — she is accompanied by Jim Fryer, trumpet, trombone, euphonium; Dalton Ridenhour, piano; Adrian Cunningham, vocal, clarinet, saxophone; Brandi Disterheft. string bass; Ted Gottsegen, guitar; Steve Little, drums.
At times I thought of a modern Fats Waller and his Rhythm (thanks to Dalton and Ted throughout), then of a hip Doris Day – Buddy Clark (BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE), then a streamlined Ellington-based dance number (IT DON’T MEAN A THING), or a nifty Forties approach on LET IT SNOW. Some perfectly understated overdubbing — you wouldn’t notice it unless you looked at the personnel listings — is a special pleasure, because on one song we can hear Jim Fryer, trumpet, lead the way, while his benign twin Jim Fryer plays a splendid trombone part.
When the third track ended, I was sorry that the CD was only ten minutes long. That’s high praise in JAZZ LIVES’ country.
Here’s Svetlana’s Facebook page, and the band’s Facebook page, and here you can hear the EP (how old do you have to be to know what that acronym means?) and digitally download it for the swift painless price of $3 — or, for the budget-minded, a dollar a song.
My title is probably wrong: this is music for any of the twelve months, no matter what the temperature.
May your happiness increase.