Johanna Grussner: Lazy Afternoon
Prophone PCD 087
Sometimes you get to review a record and just wish you could have been involved in its production.
This is one such album. It's a catalogue of missed opportunities at pretty well every stage of manufacture. Perhaps this reflects a rather unsophisticated approach to marketing currently being employed by some sections of the Jazz Record Industry. There is a positive explosion in female artists in the all fields of music in Pop & Rock. Jazz producers need to take note.
Johanna Grussner has great potential in her voice - just listen to her rendering of Wexler, Goffin & King's 'A Natural Woman.' But she has been badly let down in putting this collection of near-standards together. The choice of songs is pretty ordinary to be brutally honest, the arrangements are unsurprising and unimaginative despite workmanlike yet uninspired backing performances by the standard jazz trio.
The packaging is a hotch potch of holiday snaps of little interest to anyone who wasn't there and poor Johanna is not portrayed in any particularly attractive light. I couldn't even be bothered to study the sleevnotes, they were obviously so formulaic.
I'm sorry to be so negative but the better tracks here point so clearly to what might have been if some extra effort had been invested in helping Johanna Grussner come up with the album she is patently able to deliver.