About Blue Joy - 4/5 Stars:
Here is a truly sumptuous album containing beautiful new arrangements of some seriously well-written 70's and 80's classics, plus some excellent original material.
Singer, songwriter and arranger Bonnie J Jensen is new to me, but I'm so glad I've found her. Absolutely refreshing to hear intelligent, quality singing and phrasing from one of our own.
Bonnie has assembled around her a superb band featuring the top players available, including Jonathan Zwartz on double bass, Michael Bartolomei on piano and keys, Fabian Hevia on drums and percussion, Jeremy Sawkins on guitars, Don Rader on trumpet and flugel horn, Craig Walters on Tenor sax and Andrew Oh on flutes. Bartolomei and Jensen have done most of the arrangements, with Zwartz and Sawkins contributing to one piece each. What a line-up!
Jensen sings with a silky, smooth, lush sound, not unlike Diana Krall. It oozes and flows all over the listener, pouring music into every nook and cranny of the body and soul.
In particular, some outstanding tracks include Exactly Like You, here presented in a smooth easy swing arrangement, a wonderful version of Just the Two of Us, a clever arrangement of Rio De Janiero Blue (lots of people have covered that song, including Randy Crawford and Nicolette Larson), in which the Latin feel is combined with some searing electric guitar breaks, This Masquerade and Sting's Every Breath You take. Jensen's originals include Free, The Flame and Tokyo Skies, which provides a suitable opening to the entire album.
Perfectly suited to the cocktail hour, sophisticated dinners, or late night romance.