Diana Panton is one of the most respected and accomplished performers in the jazz community today. One look at the singer’s bio shows that. She has released six critically acclaimed full-length albums, been nominated for two JUNO awards, won two Silver Disc Awards in Japan, 7 HMAS and has been tapped to play some of the world’s top jazz festivals among so much more. Needless to say the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based vocalist has done and earned quite a bit in her career so far. And last year she added yet another proverbial feather in her cap when she released her first-ever children’s album I Believe in Little Things. The album, originally released on September 25th, 2015 in Canada, will be re-issued this spring (March 18th to be exact) in the United States via eOne Records. The fourteen-song collection earned its own acclaim overseas in its initial release. And it would be no surprise for it to earn even more accolades upon its release domestically. That is especially the case considering that while it is being marketed as a children’s album it really isn’t just an album for children. That is because its featured songs are in fact songs lifted from movies, not just children’s standards. The catch is that the songs and the movies from which they were lifted are all family friendly. Yet young audiences today likely are far more unfamiliar with the songs or said movies than their parents. Considering that, it becomes just as enjoyable for adults as it is for younger viewers. It will generate a sense of nostalgia in older listeners and serves as a starting point for younger listeners to learn about the beloved songs and movies from which they were lifted. Keeping all of this in mind, it is safe to say that while most American audiences likely don’t know Diana Panton’s name or body of work, her new album could very well be the album that makes her more of a household name here in the states.
I Believe in Little Things, Diana Panton’s first-ever children’s album, is an interesting collection of songs. That is because considering its featured compositions it doesn’t necessarily come across as being solely for younger audiences. The compositions in question are songs lifted from a handful of classic family friendly movies. Those movies include but are not limited to: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), The Muppet Movie (1970), and Pinocchio (1940) just to name a few. Also featured in this album are songs from Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). There are even songs lifted from the beloved children’s series Sesame Street and Jim Henson’s other family favorite series The Muppet Show. So not only does Panton touch on timeless movies but on timeless television series, too. On the surface this doesn’t seem like much. But on a deeper level the link between the songs, movies, and TV series serves as a starting point in a history lesson that will hopefully get younger listeners into said classics versus what is begin offered to them today. What’s more the songs themselves also serve as a starting point in a lesson about the importance of jazz in young listeners’ musical upbringing. Older audiences could start with the featured songs and go back in time from there, exhibiting some of the jazz tunes that have made (and continue to make) jazz such a great and important genre. It would have been nice to have had the movies and TV series listed in the album’s companion booklet. If anything can be said negative of the album’s overall presentation that is it. Even with that having been noted it isn’t so overwhelming that it overly detracts from the album’s presentation. Keeping that in mind, each element noted here is important in its own right in terms of exhibiting what makes I Believe in Little Things an impressive new recording from Diana Panton. Collectively they show clearly why this recording is an offering that could help establish her in the American musical community. They are, together, just one way in which this is shown. Her approach to each of the album’s featured songs is just as important as the songs and the movies and TV series from which they were lifted.
The songs featured in I Believe in Little Things are in their own right hugely important to the compilation’s overall presentation. That is because they serve as a starting point in a discussion on the histories of both jazz and music in film for younger listeners. The movies from which they were lifted are by connection just as important to the album’s presentation as the songs. That is because they serve as a starting point in a discussion for audiences of all ages about film and television history. While both noted elements play their own integral role in the overall presentation of Panton’s new album they are both by themselves and collectively just a couple of important portions of the album’s presentation. Panton’s approach to the songs is just as important to the album’s presentation as the songs and their links to their associated movies. Listeners will note that her approach to the songs is very soft and gentle. The best comparison that can be made is to the vocal style of Norah Jones and Diana Krall. Panton sticks to this vocal style from beginning to end of the nearly fifty-five minute record (its total run time—or TRT—is fifty-four minutes and forty-seven minutes as noted on the back of the album’s case). The thing is that even though she sticks to that one vocal style and her band mates maintain the same sort of gentle, relaxed musical approach it never gets old at any point. There are artists and acts out there whose albums get real old real fast because they don’t deviate at any point. But for some reason that isn’t the case with Panton and her band mates here. That being the case it’s one more important element in the overall presentation of I Believe in Little Things. It still isn’t the last notable element in the album’s presentation either. While it might not seem like much to note, the album’s track listing is just as pivotal to its presentation as its other noted elements.
The songs that are featured in Diana Panton’s new children’s album and the approach taken to each song both in regards to her own approach and that of her band mates are both equally important to the album’s overall presentation. Even as important as they are to the album’s presentation they still are not the album’s only important elements. The track listing included with the album is just as important as the album’s content. Here is the reason why: The track listing is printed clearly on the rear exterior of the album’s packaging. Each song is listed clearly with its respective run time. On the bottom right after the final song is the album’s TRT. Having the specific run times with the songs and the album’s TRT can be very helpful for parents with younger children. The specific run times can help parents and educators determine which songs will best potentially hold those young listeners’ attention since every child’s attention span is different from the other. They aren’t left to guess the lengths of the different songs. Any parent and/or educator out there will agree just how stressful it can be to keep young minds engaged in any manner. In regards to the album’s TRT, parents and educators can use it to help time nap time for children regardless of setting. To that extent the display of the album’s track listing and run time on both levels proves to be just as important to the album’s presentation as its featured songs and the approach taken by all involved. And together with the noted elements they come together to make I Believe in Little Things an album in which listeners of all ages will believe.
I Believe in Little Things is an album in which listeners of all ages will believe after hearing its collection of classic movie and TV themes. That is thanks in large part to the songs and the movies and TV shows to which they are connected. The songs and their related movies and TV series are more than just entertainment for audiences. They serve just as much as a starting point for lessons and discussions on music history and that of television and movies. To that extent it serves as an album that older audiences will appreciate just as much as younger audiences. They are also a way to get younger audiences interested in the golden era of music, movies, and television. The stylistic approach taken to the album both from Panton and her band mates is just as important to note of the album’s presentation. Even with the group’s approach staying largely the same from beginning to end it keeps audiences fully engaged. That is a testament to the group’s work. That is especially the case when their work is compared to such an approach taken by other acts with their respective albums. The album’s track listing both in regards to its song listing and run times (both separate and overall) rounds out the album’s presentation. The run times help parents and educators determine which songs will best keep young minds engaged when considering their attention spans. The overall run time listing can help parents and educators alike in terms of using the album for little ones’ nap times. Any parent and/or educator will agree that this is extremely important. Keeping that in mind, it is just as important to the album as any of the album’s content. All things considered I Believe in Little Things proves in the end to be an album in which listeners of all ages will believe. It will be released domestically Friday, March 18th in stores and online.
Diana Panton is currently performing live in support of I Believe in Little Things. She will be live at University Club in Toronto, Ontario on February 26th. She also has a handful of dates currently scheduled for March, May, and August. Her current schedule of live dates is noted below.
Diana Panton Performance Highlights – February – August 2016
Feb. 14 – McMichael Art Gallery, Kleinburg, Ontario
Feb. 26 – University Club, Toronto, Ontario
March 3 & 5 – MMM Live Lab, Hamilton, Ontario
May 28 – Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario
Aug. 1 – 12 – Tour in Asia
Aug. 16 – 21 – Woody Point Festival, Gros Morne, Newfoundland
More information on her current tour is available online now along with more information on I Believe in Little Things and all of Panton’s latest news at:
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