Friday, 11 May 2012

Ida Sand "Meet Me Around Midnight" 2007

Ida Sand’s first album is released in 2007 in Vocal Jazz Series of ACT. As seen in the name it is a midnight friendly album. You won’t understand how this one hour record will come to the end. Trust me, you will push playback, instantly after the last song. The dominant genre is certainly jazz and soul, you will take a little taste of blues at the same time. She has a really deep, wide, relaxed, black and strong voice. Morover, she knows how to use it and how the audience hear it. She gives you the emotional meaning of the songs by using lots of vibratos and many more surprises while pronouncing the words of lyrics. Ida’s vocal performance is the main theme on the whole album however please give attention to her great piano playing in most of the songs (except #1 and #5). I think when the singer also plays an accompanying instrument, a very organic sound and a perfect timing is accomplished. Ida Sand’s piano is in a perfect harmony with the movements in her voice. It is evident that Ida Sand waited, studied very much to be experienced for her debut album because there isn’t any ordinary performance, record, composition or arrangement in it. The producer and also a special guest of the album is the man with the red horn, Nils Landgren. There are lots of my favoutire ACT artists in the album. The musicians are guitarist Ulf Wakenius, bassist Lars Danielsson, bassist Ove Andersson (#12), pianist Jan Lundgren(#1, #5), guitarist Henrik Janson, guitarist Ola Gustafsson(#7 #10 #12), drummer Michael Edlund(#7 #10 #12) and drummer Rasmus Kihlberg. The album is recorded, mixed and mastered by Lars Nilsson at Nilento Studios in Gothenburg. Let me give the list of the songs and review each of them shortly:
  1. Mr. Pianoman (Kuller / Beckstine)
  2. Bang Bang (Sonny Bono)
  3. Brutal Truth (Ida Sand)
  4. Every Little Bit Hurts (Ed Cobb)
  5. Her Comes The Rain Again (Lennox / Stewart)
  6. One For My Baby (Arlen / Mercer)
  7. Feeding off The Love of The Land (Steveland Morris)
  8. Higher Ground (Steveland Morris)
  9. At Last (Gordon / Warren)
  10. Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes (Sam Hopkins)
  11. Maybe You’ll Be There (Bloom / Gallop)
  12. Use Me (Bill Withers)
  13. Home (Ida Sand)
  1. Mr Pianoman: A very old song composed and written by Billy Eckstine and Sid Kuller for the album Basie/Eckstine Incorporated in 1959 performed by Count Basie Orchestra. A perfect vocal entrance (makes me crying) pushing the limits of the dynamic range is accompanied by the great pianist Jan Lundgren as well as very well defined drum and bass, after which a velvet harmony continues deciding where the song should go. During the first half of the song the same “rising and falling of the tension, controlled by Ida’s vocal” is made once again. Then, the piano starts to play the main theme with Rasmus Khilberg’s drums carrying the song to the end.
  2. Bang Bang: The energetic entrance that is followed by a slowed-down part in the first song is connected to the second song. This well-known composition of Sonny Bono may be in its most intimate form in this album. In my opinion, this may be the best cover of all. Acoustic guitar of Wakenius, smooth touches of the drums, Ida Sand’s soft piano touches and emotional vocal are perfectly matched. Ida and her friends add lots of various colors to the standard composition making it a dynamic song.
  3. Brutal Truth: and here we go… This well-stated composition belongs to Ida Sand. The energy of audience is raised again by a constant walking electric bass all over the song. The attacks of the drums are perfect and with Ida’s vocal they control the tension.
  4. Every Little Bit Hurts: Started with a very slow, sometimes swinging rhythm, the song makes surprising risings from time to time. In the first rising triggered by the drums we hear only Ida’s voice, in the second rise, which is again triggered by drums, we also listen to the the trombonist Nils Landgren just before her act. The second rising is a bit higher, after which we will find the end of the song with the same slow rhythm in the beginning.
  5. Here Comes The Rain Again: Oh My God… one of the most important song in my life. A man should not start any affair with a woman before listening to what  is said in this song. The lyrics are like a lesson, which answers the question “ What does a woman wants?”. Listening to this song from Ida makes it more special. Main theme is played by the electric guitar and bass in the entrance accompanied by crystal clear touches of piano and drums. I know it is hard to take attention from Ida but please listen to the perfect work done by the drummer.
  6. One for My Baby: Please excuse me, but I think this song with the 10th track is the sexy-blues part of the album and attracts you also about drinking a little bit much (one more). What can I say, Ida sings like an american female singer living in 50’s.
  7. Feeding off The Love of The Land: A romantic soul song in which I like electric guitar partitions very much. The vocal is very soft consistent with it. Drum and bass follow a standart rhythm without any surprise. 
  8. Higher Ground: Beats per minute is increased again in this great song of Stevie Wonder (Steveland Morris). You will certainly like Nils Landgren great trombone and Henrik Janson’s organic guitar tone. The great dialogue between Ida’s vocal and guitar should be given attention. The progress in the song is very well controlled by the drums and vocal.
  9. At Last: I think I will give an edit to my subjective review for this song. Why? Because I am far away from my lovely wife for a certain time and you will understand me when you listen to this song. For now, I can say that I am obsessed with this song and listen to it everyday. Lars Danielsson perfect bass tone, which I will recognize from 1 km away gives a perfect smooth entrance to the song. Later on, an harmony made of silk carries you through the last songs of the album. This time listen to the great work of piano with the guitar.
  10. Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes: A great minor blues song. Ida Sand shows us what a great blues vocalist she is. Look at the dynamics of her voice. Henrik Janson shows the best performance of himself in this album sometimes taking place of the vocal.
  11. Maybe You’ll Be There: It is a love song, but I think love of a little bit desperate woman. The proper use of brushes gives a very emotional ambiance with the piano. It is dangerous to listen when you are in love  and he/she doesn't know you.
  12. Use Me: A great energetic record started with a great bass partition that continues with two individual electric guitar record played together. Then there comes the colorful vocal of Ida first. Secondly we hear not only a great trombonist but also a qualified male vocal, Nils Landgren.
  13. Home: Home Sweet Home… I like home very much and I suppose so does Ida. This song reminds you home but at the same time it reminds you that home is meaningful with the ones you love in it. I mean, what you miss is actually is a total harmony of all the things surrounding you and the spirit that you feel yourself belongs to. For the whole song, Ida plays and sings with her soft tone and tells you now it is time to go to bed and sleep in peace. But as I said before, you will not listen to her and play it back! 
It is very difficult to tell anything bad about the quality of a record coming from ACT they are all perfect.  I can say that the vocals are perfectly recorded (I think ACT makes the best vocal records). The vocal are well focused, all layers of the vocal is easily heard. The placements of the instruments on the stage is perfect. The bass records are very organic and acoustic. ACT records are certainly suitable for an hi-fi set up. I think considering that the natural sounds are better, ACT is better than ECM.

You can try this sample of the first song Mr. Pianoman but I recommend you buy the CD and listen to it in a good set up, because wonderful vocal of Ida Sand deserves to be heard and felt fully:

You can read my other posts about Ida Sand:

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