VIVIAN LEE/Let’s Talk About Love: Kicking it old school throughout, Lee is a classic jazz vocalist that knows how to swing the oldies that you want to hear done right one more time. With the newest track being “Didn’t We”, this journey through the past has no dust on it at all. A real find for genre fans, this gal could give lessons on how to get it done. A real smoker.
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher, midwestrecord.com
Evocative love story jazz vocals Vivian Lee – LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE: If you love ladies who know how to bring stories of love to life through jazz vocals, you’re going to HAVE to have Vivian’s August, 2018, release in your collection… just check out her scintillating performance on “Some Other Time“, and you’ll be an “instant believer” in her tantalizing talent – the recording is top-of-the-line, and Vivian’s vocal is among the best I’ve listened to (yet) in 2018.
As you’d expect, Vivian has a stellar cast of players supporting her magical vocals… Brenden Lowe on piano, Joe Gilman piano (Track #3,) Buca Necak doing bass, Jeff Clayton on alto sax (Track #6) and Jeff Minnieweather doing drums… as you listen to the ultra-hip & upbeat “Out of Nowhere“, you’ll hear each of those players with the clarity of crystal… a wonderful performance!
The 3:34 opener, “Wives and Lovers“, makes the album well worth the purchase, and as I said, it’s tunes like this that make this a “must-have”… swingin’, cats, swingin’…
It’s the joyful and bubbly intimacy Vivian projects on “Secret Love” that made it my personal favorite of the eleven tunes offered up for your jazz listening pleasure… pacing is perfect, and each of the players gets a chance to shine on this one.
I give Vivian and her players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this excellent jazz vocal adventure.
DICK METCALF, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews
The knowing attitude that vocalist VIVIAN LEE brings to each song that she sings on Let’s Talk About Love (Tara Records – 80554) makes this recording one that has immediate appeal. Her dusky voice and jazz-infected approach is nicely complemented by the piano of Brenden Lowe, with Joe Gilman filling this chair on “Some Other Time,” Buca Necak on bass and Jeff Minnieweather on drums, plus Jeff Clayton adding his alto sax on “Emily.” Lee has a very individual approach to putting across the lyrics of songs like “Wives and Lovers,” “You Turned the Tables on Me,” “Out of Nowhere” and “Waltz for Debby,” among the intelligently selected program of eleven tunes. The folks in her home of Sacramento, and others in neighboring areas of California are fortunate to have an artist of quality like Vivian Lee in their midst. Discovering her for the first time has been a true pleasure.
JOE LANG, Jersey Jazz
The typical way (the collective) we listen to full length albums is from the top down, but my entry into the heart-to-heart, alternately lush/caressing and jubilantly swinging storytelling magic of Vivian Lee’s new album Let’s Talk About Love was the final track. On an expansive showcase for the renowned Sacramento jazz singer’s warm, charming and romantically expressive vocals, I at first dared to skip over the well-known standards and relative obscurities by legendary songwriters and composers like Leonard Bernstein (“Some Other Time”), George and Ira Gershwin (“The Man I Love”), Bacharach/David (“Wives and Lovers”), Johnny Mandel/Johnny Mercer (“Emily”), Jimmy Webb (“Didn’t We”) and Bill Evans (“Waltz For Debby”).
Of course those – and a bright, carefree stroll through Doris Day’s once mushy and mystical “Secret Love” – are fab, too. But childhood sweetness grabbed my heart and I wanted to hear first what Vivian could do with “Bein’ Green,” a classic lament originally sung by Kermit the Frog. Quite a lot, it turns out.
After a dreamy piano intro by the wonderful Brendan Lowe (whose work shimmers and grooves throughout the album), she graces the Joe Raposo tune with innocence and sensitivity, with a few phrases of talk-sing punctuating her dreamy narrative. It updates a children’ classic for an adult world where more need to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate the differences in others. Let’s Talk About Love should spark a lot of romantic musical conversations no matter what shade you are!
JONATHAN WIDRAN editor, jwvibe.com
Vivian Lee is incredibly appealing and sweet. I use the world sweet deliberately, because that's the primary quality I notice in her voice. So many singers, especially in jazz, have that much larger-than-life sound, something so big and impressive that you tend to forget these are mere mortals. Vivian Lee has an incredibly sweet voice, the kind of voice you want to curl up next to, the kind of a voice that makes you want to introduce yourself to her and get to know her better because, if you're lucky, she might decide to sing for you one day. Her lovely and somewhat quiet delivery is gentle and soothing and makes you float off into the ether. That's fortunate, because she's singing a collection of standards that are, as the title suggested, devoted to the subject of love. She has an extraordinary touch.
Lee hails from Sacramento, which isn't exactly a hotbed for jazz--at least I haven't heard about it yet, and I've been in that city plenty of times. None of that matters, because Lee is the type of jazz singer who holds such tunes as "Wives and Lovers," "Some Other Time" and "Waltz for Debby" close to her heart, so much so that you might be convinced that the songs were written for her. Her soft voice can sound a little understated at times, but it's forward enough in the mix so that you might be tricked into thinking her head is on your shoulder. (It sounds like I have a huge crush, and I might.) She surrounds herself with an equally simple and quiet ensemble, mostly a trio of pianist Brenden Lowe, bassist Buca Necak and drummer Jeff Minnieweather. They come off as the perfect piano trio, that kind that might be wandering from studio to studio fifty or sixty years ago.
That perfectly measured sound of the trio, taken from the vibrant past, also influences how Lee's voice comes off--she's deep in the past as well. She's playful when she needs to be, like Julie London in one of her lighter moods, and she often sounds like some undiscovered treasure from long ago. These days there's such a propensity to belt out the songs with all your might, to show off that talent so no one will hesitate to be impressed. Lee does something entirely different. She charms you over time, and she finds the way to your heart by just being herself. Needless to say, highly recommended.
MARK PHILLIPS thevinylanachronist.blogspot.com