Jacintha Is Her Name (2003)

Hamilton, Magidson, Lowe, Monk, Herzog, Fields, Morrison, Robison, Barnes, Brown, Ronell

Jacintha

Julie London, the legendary torch song singer and pop balladeer of the 60s and early 70s, passed away in Los Angeles in the year 2000. The singer who had a huge hit with her version of Cry Me A River still retains a large fan base worldwide and has always been one of Jacintha's favorite singers. It only seems natural that for this, her fourth album for Groove Note, the sensual and talented Jacintha, no mean balladeer herself, has chosen to record and dedicate an album to Julie.

Inspired mainly by Ms. London's first Liberty album, Julie Is Her Name and its spare guitar and acoustic bass formats, Jacintha and arranger/pianist Bill Cunliffe (recently nominated for a Jazz Arranging Grammy) have come up with a spectacular new release. Using the guitar and bass combo as a basic springboard, the album has taken some of the songs most closely associated with Ms. London (e.g. Cry Me A River, and some not so familiar like Light My Fire), and transformed them into the kind of material that Jacintha handles best. Intimate, sexy, seductive.

A couple of tunes do utilize a trio behind Jacintha but the great majority of the songs stay faithful to the guitar/bass combo and two instrument concept with the additional twist of using some different instruments in the arrangements. (e.g. sax and bass for Willow Weep For Me, sax and piano for Something Cool and piano and bass for Cry Me A River). Jacintha herself delivers some definitive performances including a classic version of Something Cool and her cover of The Doors' Light My Fire.

The very spare instrumental arrangements also lend themselves to extremely high quality audiophile sound and Joe Harley (producer) and Mike Ross (engineer) have outdone themselves on this recording, creating sonics and fidelity that are some of the best ever from Groove Note (or any other label for that matter). 

* NativeDSD makes this recording available for the first time as a DSD Download to a wider audience, outside the US and Canada.
* NativeDSD exclusively offers this recording as DSD 128 and DSD 256 Downloads (see Tech Specs for more info).

"Great art is always at heart unexplainable, as musicians from Beethoven to Louis Armstrong have agreed. But it is irresistible, if only as a tribute, to try to say something about what made London's songs so unforgettably haunting. (...) Homage to London is well justified, but imitation would inevitably turn into disaster. Some people are simply inimitable. Jacintha quite rightly opts to sing some of London's specialties, but in a style of her own. The songs are more extended--no three minute limit here--and the arrangements more contemporary in style—no soaring string sections nor choral backgrounds in the Fifties style. The combined result you will find most gratifying, I believe. (...)"

By: ROBERT E. GREENE - Senior Writer, THE ABSOLUTE SOUND
From: Booklet Liner Notes

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Jacintha

Jacintha is a popular vocalist, actress and journalist known for her performances and writing in both the United States and Singapore. She was born in 1957 to musician parents, the Sri Lankan classical guitarist Alex Abisheganaden, a recipient of the Cultural Medallion, and a Chinese mother who sang and played the piano. She studied piano and voice from her early teens and also sang in the Singapore Youth Choir, where she met her future collaborator Dick Lee.

Growing up, Jacintha listened to a wide variety of music – not only vocal jazz and traditional pop, but also artists who ranged from Stevie Wonder to Joni Mitchell to South African singer Miriam Makeba. Jacintha was a big fan of Brazilian bandleader Sergio Mendes during her upbringing. Jacintha was educated at Marymount Convent School, Raffles Institution and the National University of Singapore, where she graduated with an honors degree in English. She then went to America where she studied creative writing at Harvard University. Jacintha first came to prominence in 1976 when she won a local television talent contest, Talentime, singing jazz. She continued this winning streak in 1981, when she nabbed the Best Female Performer award for her role as Nurse Angamuthu in General Hospital at the Drama Festival.

In 1983, Jacintha released her debut album Silence. The new wave album, containing a cover of the Bee Gees' "Run to Me", was reviewed positively, with The Straits Times calling it "probably the most impressive debut album...from a local singer." In the mid-1990s, actor Lim Kay Tong introduced Jacintha to Ying Tan, who signed her to his Groove Note label. Her first jazz album was released in 1998: Here's To Ben – A Vocal Tribute To Ben Webster. Jacintha's second album for the Groove Note label, Autumn Leaves: The Songs of Johnny Mercer (1999) has seen the title track being used for TV series Alias, while the bonus track "Here's to Life" was used as the title track for the Hollywood movie Play It to the Bone.

In 2004, Jacintha performed her own cabaret jazz show, The Angina Monologues at the Old Parliament House, Singapore. In 2006, she served as a judge on the second season of Singapore Idol. In 2012, she returned to the stage after 13 years, playing herself in Ong Keng Sen's National Broadway Company, a musical commissioned for the Esplanade – Theatre on the Bay's 10th anniversary.

photo: from booklet 'The Girl from Bossa Nova'

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Jacintha Is Her Name (2003)

Hamilton, Magidson, Lowe, Monk, Herzog, Fields, Morrison, Robison, Barnes, Brown, Ronell

Jacintha

    Positive Feedback

This album is a sheer joy to listen to from the first note. This may be Jacintha's best album yet. The silky, smooth, and sensuous voice of Jacintha is reproduced with an utterly natural quality, revealing every nuance of her phenomenal intonation, phrasing, breath control, and vocal modulation. On several cuts she is paired with saxophonist Harry Allen, who, along with Sonny Rollins, is one of my favorite living sax players. Jacintha's voice floats between the speakers in a truly palpable fashion, and if there is a microphone signature imparted to her voice, I sure can't detect it. The soundstage is wide open, and the instrumentalists are right there, with a relaxed sense of ease that imparts a distinctively life-like quality to the recording. Ying Tan continues to do a consistently outstanding job with his Groove Note releases, and Joe Harley's production is impeccable. Ying's best releases fly in the face of the old rule that states that "The better the sound, the worse the performance [or music], and vice versa." A large number of Groove Note releases are now obvious exceptions to this "rule," and new examples keep coming out. This album is dedicated to Julie London, and in the liner notes the inestimable Robert E. Greene goes into some detail on why she was so influential, and how her songs are deserving of reinterpretation by a singer of Jacintha's capabilities, and of being recorded in state-of-the-art sound. The result is, to this listener, simply mesmerizing. Jacintha injects a world of emotion into Willow Weep For Me, and the accompanying tenor sax work of Harry Allen is second to none. Jacintha's sultry voice heats up Something Cool, a fifties staple that is given a new interpretation here. Don't Smoke In Bed is suitably wistful. The classic Cry Me A River is sung with conviction and feeling. And so on. My hat's off to Ying Tan, Joe Harley, Harry Allen, Bill Cunliffe, Bernie Grundman, and everyone else who made this recording a reality. It's a knockout, and it deserves my highest recommendation. Please support Ying Tan and colleagues and buy it. They merit your support. It doesn't get much better than this.

Dave Glackin[read full review]

    Soundstage

How does one improve on the already wonderful? That was the question I posed to myself upon receipt of Groove Note’s Jacintha Is Her Name -- A Tribute to Julie London. I asked myself that because, based on all the musical and sonic enjoyment I’d received from Jacintha’s previous efforts -- Here’s To Ben, Autumn Leaves, and Lush Life -- might this latest effort turn out to be something of a let down? After all, how many times can an artist continue to improve, as Jacintha has done? I mean, sooner or later she’ll have to come up short of the abnormally high standards she’s set for herself, right? Wrong. With Jacintha Is Her Name, she has not only hit the target again, she’s scored another bull’s-eye in the process, with each succeeding album coming closer and closer to dead center. And if she weren’t so darned talented, it could almost become monotonous. But when you combine Groove Note Records’ superb sonics with Jacintha’s ability to deliver a song in a manner that suggests each number was written just for her, the listener is held spellbound by the total beauty of the result. Jacintha Is Her Name takes Jacintha a step beyond her other albums due to the expansion of her repertoire beyond the songs of the Great American Songbook that have been the building blocks of those earlier records. The songbook is still well represented here, but to it Jacintha adds the unexpected -- The Doors’ "Light My Fire" -- as well as jazz vocal standards, such as the Billie Holiday staple "God Bless the Child," and the Thelonious Monk classic "Round Midnight." These songs in particular allow us a better insight into just how good a singer Jacintha has become. They also let us see how much of a debt she owes both to Julie London, in whose honor the album is dedicated, and to Ella Fitzgerald, in the manner she delivers these songs (said debts are more than repaid here). With backing from Bill Cunliffe on piano, Harry Allen on tenor sax (he replaces the late Red Holloway in Groove Note’s house band), Ron Eschete on seven-string guitar, Larry Bunker on vibes and congas, Holly Hoffman on flute, Darek Oleskiewicz on bass and Larance Marable on drums, the total-enjoyment factor gets ratcheted up a few more notches. As is the custom with a Groove Note production, the sound is excellent. Producer Joe Harley, engineer Michael C. Ross, and mastering maven Bernie Grundman use all their considerable experience and talent to nail the sound just about perfectly. Instead of using all the musicians on each number, Harley uses them in varied combinations of three, thereby allowing Jacintha’s voice room to really shine. The Stereo DSD tracks take the already excellent sound and bumps it up considerably higher -- fleshing out both the vocals and instrumental tones, and also adding to the sense of recording acoustic that you’ll notice is lacking on the CD (especially once you’ve heard that it’s there). The Multichannel DSD mix is done with both taste and restraint. The rear channels are used simply for acoustic enhancement. There’s no center-of-the-band sensation here. The result, on whatever level you chose to listen, is a sonic pacesetter. Just as does a bottle of fine Bordeaux wine, Jacintha continues to improve with the passage of time. Each succeeding album surpasses the standards set by its predecessor. On Jacintha Is Her Name, Jacintha adds to her repertoire and, by taking advantage of the minimal musical backing, demonstrates the full range of her considerable abilities. Combine these facets with the superb sonics, and this album becomes a tasty musical treat, one that will you will be savoring over and over again. About the only negative I can think of in regard to this album, even as I sit entranced by this latest effort, is that I’m already looking forward to the next recording, to see if Jacintha can continue to surpass herself yet again. What a delicious dilemma.

John Crossett[read full review]

Jacintha Is Her Name (2003)

Hamilton, Magidson, Lowe, Monk, Herzog, Fields, Morrison, Robison, Barnes, Brown, Ronell

Jacintha

Cables: AudioQuest
Executive Producer: Ying Tan and Sebastian Koh
Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman using the Sony Direct Stream Digital‚TM System
Mastering Room: DSD 128 and DSD 256 Download Files Created by Tom Caulfield at the NativeDSD Mastering Lab, Marshfield, MA
Microphones: AKG C-12, C-12A, KM-54 Neumann M-49, M-50, U-67, Sony C-55p, Sennheiser 441, 421
Notes: We are pleased to announce the availability of Groove Note releases in DSD 128 and DSD 256, in addition to the original DSD 64 releases. These higher bit rate DSD 128 and DSD 256 releases are all pure DSD created. They are not up samplings, for there are no PCM or DXD conversions involved in their production. They are re-modulations of the original DSD 64 encoding modulation that produced the DSD 64 releases. The sonic advantage to these new Stereo and Multichannel DSD 128 and DSD 256 releases, as with all higher DSD bit rate releases, is the wider frequency passband prior to the onset of modulation noise.This results in the listener’s DAC using gentler and more phase linear filters for playback of the music.
Producer: Joe Harley
Recording Engineer: Michael C. Ross at OceanWay Recording, Hollywood, CA November 20-24, 2002
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Analog

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This album is available as ST+MCH download (Stereo + Multichannel)
For albums, lower DSD bit rates (128 and/or 64) are available at no surcharge. This does not apply for DXD selection.
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GRV1014: Jacintha Is Her Name
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Tracks.
1.
Willow Weep For Me
Ronell
00:05:34   Select quality & channels above
2.
The Thrill Is Gone
Brown
00:05:21   Select quality & channels above
3.
Something Cool
Barnes
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4.
Don't Smoke in Bed
Robison
00:04:06   Select quality & channels above
5.
Light My Fire
Morrison
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6.
I'm In The Mood For Love
Fields
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7.
God Bless The Child
Herzog
00:05:42   Select quality & channels above
8.
Round Midnight
Monk
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9.
I'll Never Smile Again
Lowe
00:04:05   Select quality & channels above
10.
Gone With The Wind
Magidson
00:03:17   Select quality & channels above
11.
Cry Me A River
Hamilton
00:04:39   Select quality & channels above

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