MASUMI ORMANDY is a Japanese jazz vocalist who we’ve just go to know via her latest album – a charming collection of standards, ‘Beyond The Sea’.
To our surprise we’ve learned that Ms Ormandy is a remarkable 84 years old – and she made her recording debut just seven years ago – when she was a sprightly 77! Prior to this late musical blossoming, Masumi and her husband ran a language school in Tokyo. Music though was always a passion and she now has three CDs to her name and has performed concerts in Japan, Italy, the USA and Vienna.
For this latest long player, Ms O travelled to New York to record, she says, “where it all began”. She marshalled some top musicians – including guitar great Chieli Minucci and with producer Roseanna Vitro she started to assemble a set that reflected her passion for the Great American Songbook.
Amongst the chosen tracks are ’Beyond The Sea’ for which the LP is named, Tony Bennett’s evergreen ‘I Left My Heart In San Fransisco’, Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Smile’ and Harold Arlen’s ‘It’s Only a Paper Moon’. The two non-standards are ‘Like A River Flowing’ – a Japanese song, here, given English lyrics by sax man Steve Sacks and ‘Ringo No Uta (Apple Song)’ an old Japanese song originally composed by Tadashi.
Whether it’s something well-known or more esoteric Ms Ormandy treats everything with respect and delivers with a sweet naivety that has a peculiar charm all of its own. Lounge jazz for sure – but a different kind of lounge jazz. Out now via Mile High Records.