Monday, March 15, 2004

Music Review: Abbie Gardner - My Craziest Dream

I've never been much of a jazz fan. To me, jazz has always seemed like that beautifully decorated room in your parents' house with the elegant furniture you're not allowed to sit on and the knickknacks and antiques that you're not allowed to touch: I appreciate it, but it seems so nice that I've never felt quite comfortable around it. But when my favorite folk singer decided to record a jazz album, I couldn't not buy it. Abbie Gardner's My Craziest Dream is a collection of jazz standards that even the most jazz-ignorant--like me--would recognize. It includes songs like "It's Only A Paper Moon," "Ain't Misbehavin'," and "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To."

I love this album. The combination of Abbie Gardner's warm, accessible voice and the energetic, toe-tapping arrangements of Herb Gardner make jazz an inviting and happy place for me, instead of that distant, intimidating place that my turtleneck-wearing, wine-tasting friends visit. From the jubilant and playful "Them There Eyes" and "Your Mother's Son-In-Law" to the easy, relaxin' "Mean To Me" and "Tuxedo Junction," My Craziest Dream is a such a pleasure to listen to. The album also includes two original bonus tracks--written and sung by Herb Gardner--that fit perfectly with the rest of this collection; they sound like they could have been written in the 30's.

For jazz lovers and the jazz-uninitiated alike, I highly recommend My Craziest Dream.