CD from executive producer John Pruit
180-Gram vinyl from executive producer Ann & Bill Harmsen
Look out Brubeck, Sophisticated Lady’s remarkable debut should perhaps be re-titled TAKE ONE. Why? Each tune was captured in one take!
–David Thomson, Record Collector News
Yarlung Records did it again. This time it’s their first jazz entry that has golden warmth of a Blue Note from its heyday as well as visceral instruments presence of a Contemporary Records.
… the texture is so rich that you can easily discern which parts of the drum set the player hits and rubs.
–Mori Shima, Stereo Sound, Japan
I like “Sophisticated Lady.” A unique voice. Great improvising. One can hear everything on this recording, all the nuances and textures. I can really listen to this music because they have their own classic style. So much jazz is all the same today. “Sophisticated Lady” is refreshing.
The group Sophisticated Lady has its eyes set on tomorrow’s horizon — while their feet are planted in the terra firm of today — with the consummate skills and musical knowledge that have always been part of the jazz lore. They know their stuff and they can play! Sophisticated Lady gives me joy, hope, and I recommend them to you.
More jazz records should be like Sophisticated Lady Quartet—relaxed yet focused, tradition-based yet modern, elegant yet conveying a sure sense of swing. The recording is so pure that you almost feel as if you’re eavesdropping on four musicians who seem completely in their element while performing, in a one-take environment, a set that’s evenly split between previously rehearsed arrangements and performances where they had one chance to turn a composition into a memorable piece of music. No splicing or editing here—just a live-in-the-studio recording where the mood, playing and sonics are so solid that that jazz lovers will wish that the mostly-classical label Yarlung wandered over to this side of the street more often.
–Jeff Wilson, The Absolute Sound
One of those very cool involving jazz performances that bring you into the music from the very first note. The only thing this recording is missing are the expensive tickets and the sticky floor. It has become a reference of mine for space, front to back and left to right, and natural timbres.
–Robert Levi , PFO
Sonics: 5 out of 5!
This band of young jazz musicians follows in the classy-cool tradition of Shorty Rogers & His Giants, a tasteful swinging late 50s-early 60s outfit led by a principal creator of the West Coast sound. Recorded in Cammilleri Hall in LA, this debut album sounds astoundingly good. Recorded live, it gives one the feeling of having a ringside seat at an intimate jazz club. It opens with a politely swinging rendition of Jerome Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned” that’s underscored by drummer Andrew James Boyle’s deft brushwork at the intro. Every nuance of JJ Kirkpatrick’s bristling trumpet solo here can be readily felt while Boyle’s switch to sticks on the ride cymbal is like sparklers being set off in the dark. Boyle’s gentle ballad “Gone” is a lyrical highlight while the Ellington-Strayhorn song “Isfahan” is another showcase for Kirkpatrick’s bold tones and sly improvisations. Pianist Misha Bigos contributes the swinging “Finale” and delivers a dramatic solo piano piece, “Fields of Kurdistan,” while bassist Gary Wicks contributes the darkly beautiful “Night Night” and the somber “Weightless.” Kirkpatrick also turns in some bright trumpet work on a faithful rendition of Duke’s timeless “Sophisticated Lady.” A stellar first outing by a group that shows great promise.
–Bill Milkowski, The Absolute Sound