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