This record came out in mid-November (2016), and I wasn't going to write about it, but obviously I've rescinded that thought as I think it will be a nice way to start the year. Jazz Loves Disney is a record I casually played through the holiday season, but was ultimately lost in the shuffle between Christmas music and the attention I gave to creating my Top 50 Albums of 2016 (what.a.plug.) So when I began to listen to it a little more consistently I realized how dang good it is!
Just as Disney itself often does, Jazz Loves Disney straddles the line between fun and serious, lively and relaxed, and to great effect. Bringing in quite a few of my favorite contemporary jazz musicians/ vocalists, they create something that both pays homage to the classic Disney songs, while also creating a unique and engaging soundscape that is all their own.
Jazz itself carries an undeniable sensuality, so when it's applied to Disney songs, especially the ones that are already built on the pillars of innocent love, it can soften even the hardest of hearts. Which is rather unfortunate news to those of us whose hearts are already softened, because when I hear Laika's "Once Upon A Dream" followed by Nikki Yanofsky's French rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come" ("Un jour mon prince viendra") I'm basically useless. Thankfully they won't let you drift too far away, following it up with something fun, which in this case is The Hot Sardines take on "I Wanna Be Like You," which is spectacular.
There isn't a bad track on the album, though I do have my preferences, and with names like Jamie Cullum, whose "Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat" opens the album and sets the standard for what's to come, you know you're in good hands. Melody Gardot sings "He's A Tramp," and is half of duet that takes on "The Bare Necessities," both of which are highlights, as is Stacey Kent's boss nova take on "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo." The only misstep, and I don't mean it to full effect, is Anne Sila's "Let It Go," though I don't like the song in general so it isn't because of her. Jazz Loves Disney is a blast, and I hope this is the first of many, as there are tons of songs that would lend themselves beautifully to a jazzified reimaginings.