LA. JAZZ SCENE – September 2005 issue
By Bob Comden
JIMMY SPENCER'S CD RELEASE PARTY AT CHARLIE O'S
musician Jimmy Spencer celebrated the release of his brand new CD at Charlie O's
in August. It's a hot new CD titled Shades of Blue, which captures Jimmy at his
best in a variety of musical settings, singing many classic standards and
several originals written by pianist Karen Hernandez. When I first heard
the CD I was very impressed with it and I can recommend it highly. The CD
features Jimmy's regular trio. of Hernandez on keyboards, Lou Shoch on fretless
electric bass and drummer Jack Lecompton. Guest artists are percussionist Ray
Armando and John Heard on acoustic bass, on several tracks.
At Charlie O's, Jimmy's regular trio backed him and did a great job all evening. The place was packed with many of Jimmy's fans, friends and fellow musicians. There was a lot of energy in the room. Jimmy has been a friend for a long time and I have been a big fan of his singing. He has traveled all over the world and has almost performed at every jazz venue in the L.A. area. He now sings regularly at Mr. B's in Burbank every Thursday night and regularly at the Smoke House in Toluca Lake. His main influence has been Nat King Cole, but Jimmy definitely has his own voice. He sings with a lot of conviction and soul and sure knows how to tell a story. At Charlie O's, singer, pianist, actor comedian Tony Russell acted as MC and introduced Jimmy. There were so many sit-in guests throughout the evening it was hard to keep track of who played on which tunes, but the main focus was on Jimmy and his trio.
The backing trio was in exceptional form all evening and many great solos were heard from them. Jimmy is always a very sharp dresser and presents himself in a very professional manner. The trio did a Bobby Timmons tune, "This Here," then Russell1 sang a pretty "Angel Eyes." Jimmy carne and tore it up with a lively version of "Like Someone In Love," with great support from the trio. Hernandez was in top form and Jimmy sang with a nice, swinging feel that captivated the audience. The very responsive audience loved it. "At Last" was sung with a lot of soul as Jimmy poured his heart into the tune. "All of Me" was done at a lively, swinging tempo and everyone got a chance to shine. "Please Send Me Someone To Love" was done in a bluesy, gospel-like style, and Hernandez was just outstanding on her solo. The crowd whooped with joy.
“Secret Love" was done at an easy tempo and sung beautifully by Jimmy. "Riverside Drive" was written many years ago by Hernandez and was included on the new CD. It started slowly but then went into a fast samba. Jimmy sang it with a lot of gusto. What a great composition! LeCompte really got down with his exciting drumming. Some other classics that Jimmy sang were "Route 66," a beautiful "Lush Life," “Am I Blue," and "It Might As Well be Spring," to name a few.
It was a great evening of jazz and I want to wish Jimmy a lot of success with his new CD. The CD is on Night Spen Productions and was produced by Jane Getz, with Jimmy and Marilyn Zeigler as Co-producers. All the arrangements were done by Karen Hernandez. The CD captures Jimmy Spencer at his best.
L-R KAREN HERNANDEZ, JACK LeCOMPTE, LOU SHOCH,
AND VOCALIST JIMMY SPENCER AT HIS CD RELEASE
PARTY AT CHARLIE 0’S IN AUGUST.