"Thank you so much for your wonderful CD "Sophisticated Lady", what a great title for such a sophisticated CD. Your voice is great...I love your sound and vibrato. The rhythm section is really happening behind you. The choice of material knocked me out. You can't lose with this package."   - Guido Basso

Sophisticated Lady

[MJ de Waal Music CD]

Recorded July 2015 at OCL Studio

Reviewed by Sheila Thistlethwaite, columnist for Cadence Magazine

I like this debut CD from MJ de Waal for many reasons, not the least of which is MJ’s particular choice of material. She has intentionally avoided the wellworn and has gone instead for some less familiar standards like the bluesy My Kind of Trouble is You by Benny Carter and Paul Vandervoort II and the Latin jazzy Morning by Clare Fischer. She sings with ease and sincerity, taking us from gladness (The Day that I Found You) to sadness (Something Cool) and around again, to land on the title tune, Ellington’s bittersweet ballad, Sophisticated Lady.

As if to challenge her own unpretentiousness, MJ employed topnotch backup with the very able veteran Canadian jazz musicians Eric Friedenberg on tenor sax and flutes and her husband John de Waal on drums, along with the very active and creative players Mark Limacher on piano and Jeremy Coates on bass. If they aren’t having fun playing on this CD, they are not only terrific musicians but astonishing actors as well. So it is rewarding to hear a bit of expanding going on.

This collection of tunes, as presented by MJ de Waal, while satisfying, still offers a feeling of being poised on the edge. When that next flight comes,

I look forward to wherever MJ and crew may take us.

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