Joanne Tatham started out as a performer of musical-comedies in New York and left the city to start a family in Los Angeles. “Out Of My Dreams” is her third album and was produced by Mark Winkler, himself a prominent jazz writer and singer whose last release was a classy duo recording with Cheryl Bentyne (“West Coast Cool”) and whose songs were just recorded by Jane Monheit for an upcoming project with David Benoit.
Her wonderfully clear and resonant voice is in control here from the very first bars of the McCoy Tyner/Sammy Cahn tune “You Taught My Heart To Sing” where she really commands the story just by emphasizing the word violin. It’s a winner from the start with a great, demanding arrangement by pianist Tamir Hendelman who also has a swinging solo spot here. The Harry Nilsson ballad “Without Him” reminds me of the Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 version of the song – complete with some nice Brazilian percussion here and a sweet guitar courtesy of Marcel Camargo.
Bob Dorough‘s classic “Devil May Care”, originally from his 1956 debut album of the same name, comes along as a veritable jazz vehicle, convincing and challenging. It seems like Joanne is dealing with rhythm changes and tempos so easily as if she had done this all her life. The nice background vocal touch on the Jobim standard “Vivo Sonhando” is very charming, as is her verse sung in Portuguese. The Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim collaboration “Cool” (from West Side Story) finds Joanne in a brilliant trio setting with Hendelman, John Clayton, and Peter Erskine. The track actually epitomizes coolness in the way the piano is driving the tune forward and the way Joanne interprets it.
A very nice surprise is the inclusion of one of my all-time favorite Herbie Hancock compositions to which Joanne wrote the lyrics: the timeless “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” becomes “Double Life”. And again, Tamir’s arrangement is very sexy with Joanne’s vocal boasting class and aplomb. The not-your-usual-Jazz-Vocal-repertoire affair continues with the elegantly executed “Detour Ahead” and a charming and witty Dave Frishberg tune, “Too Long In L.A.” where Joanne surely benefits from her musical/comedy past. This is actually one of the big pluses of this album: the very well-chosen repertoire.
The often overlooked and underrated Jon Lucien is represented here with one of his signature, sassy compositions: “You’re Sensational” (originally from Jon’s highly recommended 1991 LP “Listen Love”) is done here as a duet with Marcel Camargo playing guitar and cavaquinho, a small string instrument sounding like a mix between mandolin and ukulele. A beautiful treatment.
Joanne’s album comes to an end with a blue nighttime ballad written by Mark Winkler and Marilyn Harris (“In A Lonely Place”) and the title track: the Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein love song from the 1943 musical “Oklahoma!” with another flaunting arrangement and piano by Todd Hunter and Jamieson Trotter, respectively, and with some extra lyrics done in vocalese just showcasing the innovative, convincing, and very entertaining art of Joanne Tatham.