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Samara Joy: A New Singer

I already added my "Daily Musings" post on Facebook early this morning. Here's a bonus article reviewing Samara Joy and her music. I'll try to find videos of the songs I mention for the blog or "Music Favorites" page on my website.

One of my readers, Katherine Baum, also a great fan of the Great American Songbook, suggested I listen to this lady. She is 24 years old and sings jazz standards and songs from the Great American Songbook. Katherine thought she sang in the style of Sarah Vaughn, and Samara did win the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Competition.

There are only a handful of popular singers as good as Sarah Vaughn so I am glad Katherine used the term "style" instead of something like "as good as". I have not heard enough to have a definite opinion of where to slot this lady. My initial impression is with Nancy Wilson.

Is Samara Joy good? Yes, she is very good. I listened to her versions of "Stardust", "It Only Happens To Me", "But Beautiful," and "Moonglow". You can listen to YouTube videos of all of them on the Music page.

Joy is accompanied by a trio composed of a guitar, bassist and drummer. I was only familiar with the work of the drummer Kenny Washington who has been around forever, and played with some of the really great singers and instrumentalists. I did not know the work of Art Roland on bass or the lead guitarist Pasquale Grasso, who is obviously very good, but I have a few comments about his playing.

No one should dispute that the four songs I chose to list are true standards. Nonetheless, I will give you a little primer on them.

The music was written by Hoagie Carmichael and the lyrics much later by Mitchell Parish. It is one of the most popular songs ever written, and one of the most difficult to sing. Bing Crosby said that he would sing the song even if he had to go on oxygen to do it. I think there are over 1500 performances of this song recorded. It has a wonderful verse, (an introduction for those totally uninitiated) In fact, the verse is so good, that Sinatra once recorded just the verse without the refrain. Many singers make the terrible mistake of skipping the verse. To her credit, Samara Joy sang the verse, and she sang it really well. it was first rate in all respects.

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