Jazz singer Andy James has made a career of covering music from well-known artists who have come before her. Her debut 2018 record No Regrets and its 2019 follow-up Blue are collections composed primarily of covers of others’ works. Now in 2021, James has continued that trend with yet another collection of covers in her latest album Tu Amor — roughly translated, that title means Your Love. The 11-song compilation does not necessarily break any new ground for James, though is still somewhat entertaining. That is due in part to the songs that make up the body of this compilation. They will be discussed shortly. Staying on the topic of the featured songs, they lead to one detractor that listeners cannot ignore, the lack of information as to the songs’ information. Ironically, that negative actually leads to its own positive. That will all be discussed a little later. Everything noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Tu Amor. All things considered, the compilation proves itself a presentation that at least some listeners will love.
Andy James’ new compilation record Tu Amor is an intriguing record that will appeal to her most devoted audiences. That is proven in part through the songs that made up the record’s body. The songs in question are largely well-known standards from some equally well-known figures. James takes listeners as far back as 1930 with a take on George and Ira Gershwin’s timeless tune ‘But Not For Me’ and as recent as 1970 with a take on Henry Mancini’s ‘Loss of Love.’ Along the way, there are also covers of songs from the likes of Frank Sinatra (‘Night & Day’), Carlos Santa (‘Evil Ways’) and even Tony Hatch (‘Call Me’). The latter is slightly less well-known than the others noted here, but the song itself is still well-known. Simply put, James pulls from a relatively wide range of influences here. She pulls songs from some of the most gamed American composers and performers for this compilation and from some equally popular Latin/Hispanic names (E.g. Alberto Dominguez and his hit song ‘Perfidia.’ That James would pull from that range of composers and performers gives listeners reason itself to hear this record at least once. That the songs come from a relatively wide range of eras means the songs have different feelings in each work. Her Latin-tinged take on the famous songs (which is nothing new for her, considering she has taken the same approach on the aforementioned records) gives the songs their own unique take while staying at least somewhat true to their source material. Keeping all of this in mind the songs that feature in James’ new record are themselves a positive that her most devoted fans will appreciate. Staying on the topic of the songs, they lead to the compilation’s one and only negative, its lack of information about the songs’ backgrounds.
As noted already, James takes listeners on a musical trip back through time in this compilation. The artists and composers whose music she covers is relatively diverse, as is the style of songs. While this in itself does enough to make for at least some appeal, audiences will note that James does not make mention of the original composers and artists associated with each song. Whether this omission was the result of James herself or someone else, it means on one level that those responsible for the songs are not getting the credit they deserve. Yet at the same time, the musicians who performed the songs with James in each song get their due credit. To that end, one is left scratching one’s head why even that simple starting point is ignored here. This is important to note because those who might not be so familiar with the noted songs and their history might be misled to believe that this is in fact a collection of originals rather than a grouping of covers. That again is a disservice to the composers and artists who originally crafted the featured songs. It is a negative that one cannot ignore and detracts considerably from the record. Luckily it does not detract to the point that it makes the compilation a failure. That is because it leads to an unexpected positive. That positive is the fact that it leads the noted uninformed audiences to make their own journey in music history education.
The lack of a record of artists and composers in James’ new compilation is negative, yes, but at the same time it is positive. That is because, as noted, it leads audiences who might be less familiar with the histories of each song on their own journey of discovery and education. So actually in a way, there is a latent function to that lack of information here. In researching the songs and learning the identities of their composers and performers, audiences will perhaps gain a new appreciation for those figures and their works. On an even deeper level, discovering the identities of the noted figures and even the stylistic approaches to the source material of each song could also serve as a starting point for what could become an even bigger, deeper voyage into the great American genre that is jazz. Keeping that in mind, the one negative from which this record suffers is in some odd way, its own positive. When this is considered along with the wide range of songs covered here, the two elements together make the compilation a presentation that will find some of its own love.
Tu Amor is an intriguing new offering from jazz singer Andy James. Its intrigue is raised in part through its featured songs. The songs are compositions that pull from the “great American songbook” and from even rock and Latin worlds. They pay tribute to some well-known and lesser-known works while giving those songs welcome updates. The songs can and likely will lead to discoveries and appreciation of even more jazz in the process. That is because audiences are left to research the songs themselves due to the lack of information on the original artists and composers in the compilation’s liner information. That lack of information is the compilation’s only negative, because it does not give the noted figures their due credit. Again ironically, it leads to the noted positive, bringing everything full circle. Keeping everything noted here in mind, the compilation in whole will not ultimately prove to be a timeless compilation (especially considering that James has made a career of covering others’ works), but it will still find its own love. Tu Amor is available now. More information on the compilation is available along with all of Andy James’ latest news at:
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