We Could Be Lovers by Sarah McKenzie, CD review for Jazz Australia by Barry O’Sullivan

Sarah Mackenzie

Album: We Could be Lovers
Artist:   Sarah McKenzie
Release Date: October 2014
Label:    ABC Classics

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At 23 years of age, Sarah McKenzie is already an acclaimed jazz vocalist and pianist whose album “Close Your Eyes” won Best Jazz Album at the 2012 ARIA Awards.She is also  this years Jazz Bell Award Winner for Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album with her latest recording.

A graduate of WAAPA (West Australian Academy Performing Arts)and the Berklee College of Music Boston USA, she sings with the kind of phrasing that only a true jazz singer can come up with while her groove at the piano is the stuff that makes people want to play jazz.

With fellow Australian band members,Hugh Stuckey (guitar) and Alex Boneham (bass) Sarah is joined by an international line-up of musicians including Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Warren Wolf (vibraphone)  Marco Valeri (drums, percussion) and Grammy Award-winning producer Brian Bacchus.

‘We Could Be Lovers’ features a number of Sarah’s own compositions and arrangements including ‘That’s It, I Quit’ ,’Quoi,Quoi,Quoi’ and title track ‘We Could Be Lovers’ plus classic standards from Jerome Kern,Cole Porter, Henry Mancini and George Gershwin.

Not only does her original work stand up to the songs by these master songsmiths, but her exquisite voice beautifully renders these old standards as something new again.

Standout tracks abound so  it’s hard to pick a favourite from the list of gems she delivers and even though we’ve heard it all before it’s great to hear it done again so perfectly well by a real ‘pro.’

Barry OSullivan is the Producer/Presenter of a national music program A Jazz Hour now approaching its fourteenth year on the national Community Radio Network making it one the longest running jazz music programs on the FM Airwaves. Barry also produces and presents a variety of jazz programs for Sydney digital radio station FINE MUSIC Digital and reviews jazz music recordings for the international webpage, All About Jazz, and Fine Music Magazine. Barry strongly supports Australian jazz and contemporary improvised music from his home base in The Blue Mountains, NSW.