A SONG FOR YOU
Originally issued on the Japanese Jazz City label, this is Dianne Mower's maiden album. The tone is set for the session by the first track, "Chasin' the Blues Away," where Mower and Bill Mays do Jackie and Roy Kral harmony on the Mower-penned tune. Mays, not known for his vocalizing, is fine when singing with Mower. Judging by the problems he has with staying in tune, he is not at ease when soloing, but this isn't a big problem and doesn't detract from the enjoyability of the disc. Mower has excellent range and diction and, unlike Mays, has no pitch problems. On "Makin' Whoopee," she takes a page from Michelle Pfeiffer's sensuous tabletop rendition in the movie The Fabulous Baker Boys. She's also no stranger to the blues, as she makes apparent on "Born to Be Blue." Mays and Mower collaborate again on their "Snow Job," doing Lambert, Hendricks and Ross vocalese with Dick Oatts' flute providing the backdrop. "Fascinatin' Rhythm" becomes a vocalese sonata by Mower, Swartz and Hirshfield. Saving some of the best for last, Leon Russell's haunting "A Song for You" is opened with a delicate Mays piano which stays with Mower throughout, bringing to mind the Karen Krog-Bengt Hallberg version of the late 1970s. Mower is also an accomplished lyricist, collaborating with Kent Hewitt in adding lyrics to Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" and writing "Peace Waltz" with Mays. Mower is fortunate to have an experienced supporting cast for her inaugural album. In addition to Mays, there's Harvie Swartz who has worked with the inestimable Sheila Jordan, Dick Oatts with Susannah McCorkle, and Jeff Hirshfield with Meredith D'Ambrosio. ~
Dianne Mower never had a jazz in mind when she started singing professionally at the age of 20. She turned to jazz when an impresario in Hartford, CT wanted to form a Lambert, Hendricks and Ross tribute band. Mower, who at the time was singing in Top 40 lounges along the East Coast, was tapped to join the group. Having regularly listened to Mitch Miller's Sing Along TV programs as a youngster, she knew a lot of standards, so it didn't take much for her to fit right in. Also to her advantage was a voice with a huge range allowing her to "play"Annie Ross with facility. Based on that experience, she has added Vocalese to her repertoire which is used to good effect on her initial album for Bellaphon A Song for You, where she is backed by Bill Mays. She has since joined with Norman Johnson to make Maybe September and The New Millennium Jazz Ensemble, released in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Mower has appeared at such eminent jazz venues as New York's Blue Note, participated in several concerts with the Hartford Jazz Society and appeared at various jazz festivals. Since turning all of her attention to jazz, Ms Mower has looked to Ella Fitzgerald, Morgana King, Irene Kral and Joe Williams for stylistic inspiration. Dianne Mower continues to perform in the New England area and record, and teaches at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.
Dave Nathan, All Music Guide [-]