The songs of Neil Young are not obvious material for a jazz singer to choose, and I guess it would have to be a Scandinavian singer (they seem to be less self-conscious in their rock music affections than their British or American counterparts might be).
Ida Sand, from Sweden, has “previous” in this regard, having covered soul greats like Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke in the past, so we know here taste is impeccable. On Young At Heart she draws from a wide range of the Canadian songwriter’s golden period here, from Cinnamon Girl, Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Don’t Let It Bring You Down through to Harvest Moon, Hey Hey, My My and One Of These Days. Sand indulges her funkier tendencies on the only non-Young track, Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock.
She sings them all in a fairly straight manner, making the jazz phrasing subtle and avoiding things like scatting. The band also puts the accent on rock instrumentation with some tasty guitar from Ola Gustafsson, sensitive and supportive keyboards from Jesper Nordenström and grooving bass from Dan Berglund.
Guests include the tenor saxophonist Per Texas Johansson who adds a fulsome solo to Harvest Moon. Although I liked some of his earlier funk explorations, I have learned to become slightly wary of the name Nils Landgren on ACT albums, finding he can often bring too much slightly floppy sentimentality to the proceedings. Here his performing contribution is modest and he produces with some (surprising) muscularity.
Overall, an undemanding and thoroughly pleasant album of familiar songs given a nice twist which I predict will sit very well as an accompaniment to a summer evening (well, now the clocks have shifted we can at least live in hope…)
Categories: CD review