Carol’s follow-up to her stunning EVERYTHING IN TIME (SR 1016) is a collection of witty, knowingly romantic songs. Produced by bassist David Finck,
with a crack rhythm section and stellar soloists, the album is a tribute to the joy of love and music. “Fredette suggests a potent blend of Elaine Stritch’s gin-soaked sophistication and Diana Krall’s smoky warmth. In other words, she exudes style and substance.” Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
JazzTimes, April 2014
Arts and Opinion
Jazz Journal, May 2014
"The sound of Carol Fredette is warm and intimate, her voice a seductive and conversational. She sounds at times like a modern version of Blossom Dearie but her range and choice of material is wider and more far reaching. It is one of those voices that make most listeners think she is singing just for them. The material is mostly good but not overworked standards except for No Sad Songs which was written by bassist Finck who also did a good job on the arranging for the session.
The sleeve notes go on about her early days singing sad songs, about not knowing what love is until you've learned the meaning in of the blues, living the pain and coming out the other side. She has certainly come up with a selection of bright, upbeat love songs and delivers them all with bubbling enthusiasm and a ringing optimism in her voice. You Better Go Now was a good torch song for Jeri Southern way back when although Carol sees it less as a doom-laden piece and more a very sexy song. The way she sings it, it certainly is! Porter's I Am in Love and Dancing in the Dark are standout tracks here and throughout there is strong and sympathetic from the seven-piece jazz combo. Carol sounds full of zest and optimism on all these tracks and if, as indicated in the sleeve notes, she has been through the mill in the past, she is certainly coming out positively on the other side. Her singing here makes that very clear."
Jersey Jazz, February 2014
Dr. Judith Schlesinger
"The fact that Carol Fredette's CD is going to be a rare treat is suggested by its very first track, the lesser-known Cole Porter gem, "I Am in Love." As arranged with ingenuity and class by bassist/producer David Finck (who also wrote the wry title track), this jubilant samba makes one thing clear from the jump: that this high-level group swings like crazy, but in the cool and masterful way that doesn't require knocking over the furniture...." Read article
C. Michael Bailey
"Fredette commands Bob Merrill's "It's Good to be Alive" and Irving Berlin's "The Best Thing for You." The former she treats as a delicate ballad and the later Latin-infused and simmered on high heat, Kevin Winard's percussion being particularly effective. The Cahn-Van Heusen chestnut "To Love and Be Loved" is gently rendered as a perfect cocktail hour ballad. Fredette's support is solid and competent, providing the singer an environment for her pristine vocal delivery of this most attractive recital." Read article
"Oh boy talk about sizzling! Carol Fredette is known for her extended jazz and scat filled treasures. But they don’t show up here. Instead she turns the temperature way up on 14 varied short quality-laden songs. You’ll be truly taken with her hotter than hot take on Porter’s “I Am In Love”. What a dazzler! She comes out rocking with a Latin beat on “The Best Thing For You” (Berlin.) and the result is exactly that. The eight piece band here is franticly busy with a delightful torrid super-fine beat. “You’d Better Love Me” (Martin/Gray) is another swing filled rocker as Carol belts it out some surprising highs and lows. Her natural emotional filled delivery is superb. This one of a kind version of “You’re Getting To Be a Habit With Me” (Dubin/Warren) might not be appropriate for the radio. Yet her slow reading of the lyrics will have you listening more closely than usual saying to yourself, “Did she really mean that in that way?” Wow! Some heat wave. Plus, Bob Mann has a unique guitar solo here. “Dancing InThe Dark” (Schwartz/ Dietz) has a wonderful pulse filled piano solo by Andy Ezrin that propels Carol’s thrillingly swift extremely new pleasant satisfying musical technique. It’s certainly a fine popular standard biscuit. I never expected Carol Fredette would tone down her treasured jazz/scat manner. Yet she successfully does so here. Bravo!"
"Songstress Carol Fredette, veteran of the New York jazz scene, is out February 11 with her new album, a 14-tune collection called No Sad Songs For Me. Working with an all-star group of local musical talent, she puts her own stamp on classics from the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin, in reliably cooking arrangements by bassist David Finck..." Read article
George W. Harris
"Carol Fredette has a rich and husky voice, and focuses on expression and mood with a snappy and flexible team. A rotating piano bench of Dario Eskanazi/Helio Alves and Andy Ezrin teams up with David Finck/b, Kevin Winard/dr, Bob Mann/g, David Man/woodwinds, Tony Kadleck/tp and Michael Davis/tb for lively standards and samba..." Read article
"...She’s a master of the American Songbook type singer with the sophisticated hipness of the Big Apple..." Read article
Mark S. Tucker
"Don't take the CD title, No Sad Songs for Me, too literally, friends, 'cause Carol Fredette knows how to lay out a nightcub blueser with the best of 'em…although, in cases like You're Getting to be a Habit with Me, she can go from coy to curious to wistful to seductive to sparkling with ease. More, her vocal range covers a moody Kurt Weill-ish Marianne Faithfull low end to a balmy Peggy Lee and chipper Helen Reddy mid-range; it all depends on how she interprets the moment in the song..." Read article
Soundbrush has now released this new set, No Sad Songs For Me, on which Carol brings her lovely vocal sound, rich and creamy, to a delightful selection of songs loosely linked by feelings of lost love. Among these are You’d Better Love Me, Dancing In The Dark, Long Ago And Far Away, You Better Go Nowand To Love And Be Loved. Yet, as the album title indicates, Carol does not approach the theme negatively; rather, she highlights the message of the song with which she closes the album: No Regrets. Read Article
Ever since the dawn of Billie Holiday, the tragic songstress has been an iconic figure in jazz – the woman in a black dress, singing to strangers about love gone wrong. Carol Fredette knows all about it. “When I was seventeen, eighteen, I was already singing, ‘You don’t know what love is until you’ve learned the meaning of the blues’ and ‘Lover man, oh where can you be?’ Victim songs. They were very popular then. Lover man, I’m sitting, I’m waiting, I’m nothing without you – that’s what I and so many women were brought up to think. You always felt you had to suffer if you were in love.”
And she did, a lot. Carol laughs about those days with a wisdom born of survival – both in the love-gone-wrong department and in her forty-plus years in the often punishing jazz life. Today, this gifted jazz singer, who grew up in the Bronx, is not just a long-distance runner but a unanimously respected member of the Manhattan scene. Great musicians from Hank Jones and Stan Getz to Ivan Lins have adored her work, which is witty, conversational, and swinging, devoid of self-indulgent gymnastics and high on interpretive insight. Salty and smart, she hits you between the eyes whenever she opens her mouth, but she also reaches your heart.
This time, she’s doing it without a teardrop in sight. Her latest CD is a convincing statement of hard-earned positivity, by a woman who has decided that feeling good is better than feeling bad. “I chose these songs because they make me feel wonderful,” she says. For all who equate depth with pain, this album is a reminder that joy can be just as profound. The theme came to her during a telephone interview for a birthday show she gave at Birdland in New York. Asked what kind of material she planned to sing, Carol said, “Well, let me put it this way. It’s my birthday; I’m not gonna be doing sad songs!” At that moment, she was staring at a movie poster on her wall. No Sad Songs for Me is a 1950 tearjerker about a woman (Margaret Sullavan) with an incurable disease. The film’s title spoke to her. “The truth is, most of the men I fell in love with were totally wrong, inappropriate choices that would ultimately break my heart.” That glad-to-be-unhappy approach served her singing, but not her peace of mind. “You can decide one day to change that,” she says.
There’s an upbeat glow in the arrangements, bass-playing, and production of David Finck, a master bassist of unrivaled versatility; stars of jazz, Brazilian music, cabaret, and Broadway value his talent. David produced Carol’s first album, Love Dance (1984), as well as her previous Soundbrush release, Everything in Time. “He’s a superb musician,” she says. “He understands rhythm and space. For me, a lot of bass players don’t swing. And they play too much, and their quarter notes are thumpy. David lays down the time with big, fat, elongated quarter notes. When I hear them, I just have to sing.” In his breezy charts for rhythm section and horns, he supports her; he never competes. “He just provides a comfortable cushion for me to tell the story,” says Carol.
And that, to her, is paramount. She talks passionately about phrasing. “It’s speaking, it’s conversation. In order to tell the story in this genre of jazz, to really communicate in a conversational way, you have to feel the rhythm and have good time, so you can sing on top of it, lay back, do whatever you choose to do. You can’t tell the story the way the composer notated it. It’s too sing-songy. You would never say it that way; why would you sing it that way?”
David arranged Cole Porter’s “I Am in Love” as a samba, and Carol sails aboard it with a confident smile. When she sings, “I am wildly in love with you,” she sounds as intimate as if she were whispering in her loved one’s ear. “He could have said, ‘madly in love with you,’ but ‘wildly’ – that’s hot!” A young Gwen Verdon exclaimed “It’s Good to Be Alive” in the 1957 Broadway musical New Girl in Town; Carol – joined only by pianist Andy Ezrin – delivers it with a serenity that only age can bring. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Chovendo na Roseira” (Raining on the Rosebush) became famous through a 1974 recording by one of Carol’s favorite singers, Elis Regina; Gene Lees wrote the English lyric. “I always include at least one Brazilian tune because I’ve had a passion for that music since I was eighteen,” says Carol. “It just feels good, that little waltz. It makes me so happy when I sing it.”
As recorded by Jeri Southern and Mark Murphy, “You’d Better Go Now” had a touch of film-noir doom. Carol sees it differently. “It’s very sexy. It’s saying, because I’m really wanting you, you’d better go because I like you much too much. And maybe I should take five or ten minutes to get to know you before jumping on top of you!” Billie Holiday recorded “No Regrets” in 1936; in its lighthearted way it makes a serious statement. “That’s why I chose it!” explains Carol. “It’s saying, you did this, I did that, you’re out of here, but I’ll say goodbye with no regrets. And that’s the way I’ve been thinking lately. When loss happens, I think, well, maybe something better’s in store. Or I’ve learned something so profound from that loss that it’s changed the way I look at things.”
Frank Sinatra introduced “To Love and Be Loved” (by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen) in the 1958 film Some Came Running; his recording leapt into Carol’s mind as she chose these songs. “I was thinking of that title phrase, what that would feel like. To actually love someone who loves me. So often it’s one-sided.”
How to wrap all these messages up? “I simply said to David, write a song. A fun song, nothing heavy.” She gave him the title of that Margaret Sullavan film. “I think he nailed it,” says Carol.
But she has more to say about the collective theme of this music. “There’s always the realm of possibility, of change. We all have the power to do it. You don’t have to suffer to be in love. You don’t have to be a victim. Love doesn’t have to be unrequited; you can love and be loved in return. Love can be fun, and it’s good to be alive, and I am wildly in love with you, and I am having myself a time, and I’ve got no fucking regrets!”
-- James Gavin, New York City, 2013
[James Gavin’s books include Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne and Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker.]