CLARE TEAL: Get Happy (Label: W14 Music)


Clare Teal isn’t everybody’s idea of a jazz singer but she has a legion of devoted fans who’ll simply point doubters to the numerous jazz awards she’s won in recent years and those fans will delight in this new album – chiefly because it follows the recipe of her previous best sellers. That’s to say it contains a good mix of standards, original songs and Clare’s unique take on classic pop tunes. That latter category provides a couple of the album’s high spots in ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’. On the old Everly Brothers’ hit, her vocal brings out the poignant beauty of Boudleaux Bryant’s melody while the Neil Sedaka ’62 teen angst anthem is beautifully slowed down. The lady treats Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ with more respect , while versions of standards like ‘Love For Sale’, ‘Cheek To Cheek’ and ‘The Very Thought Of You’ aren’t too different from the way their venerable writers would have envisaged them. Of the originals, ‘All For Love’ is an almost 50s kitsch throwback, ‘Get On It Sam’ has a lovely Bacharach-Swingle Singers feel to it, while ‘High Love’ is a lovely lounge ballad. By using the same five piece band throughout, ‘Get Happy’ achieves a real coherence despite the variety of the material and that unity is reinforced by Teal’s convincing vocals and her enthusiasm. She sounds happy doing what she’s doing and my guess is that she doesn’t give a toss for the doubters. She’s having fun getting happy and you can too.
(BB) 4/5