June 29, 2019

Tanya Wills Quartet: It's Time

Written By:

Lesley Mitchell-Clarke

Carrying the

DNA of an artistic

lineage, it is no

surprise that gifted

vocalist, dancer and

actor Tanya Wills

would enter the

family business and

manifest an international

performance career. With the release

of her debut CD, Wills has drawn from her

diverse career experiences and fashioned

an eclectic, stirring and musically stunning

recording – beautifully recorded by Bernie

Cisternas. Acting as producer here, Wills has

assembled the perfect musical complement

to her smoky, substantial, mezzo-soprano:

Jordan Klapman on piano, Bill Bridges on

guitar (and also primary arranger) and Ron

Johnston on bass.

A few of the sources of the intriguing

material on this project come from the

worlds of musical theatre, the European/

American cabaret culture of the post-WWI

era, American popular song, traditional folk

music, a proto-rock ‘n’ roll contribution

from Elvis and two original compositions,

including Tony Quarrington and Klapman’s

dark bossa, Rain on the Roof.

One of the many standouts is Wills’

performance on Lazy Afternoon. Her voice

is exquisitely controlled, as she weaves a

laconic, gossamer web of sensuality around

the mesmerized listener, and Bridges’ guitar

accompaniment is nothing short of luminous.

Another track of note is Arthur Hamilton’s

Cry Me a River – a passive/aggressive anthem

made popular by the late Julie London. Wills

puts her own contemporary stamp on the

tune, cleverly morphing the intent of the lyric

into a statement by a strong woman (rather

than a victim’s lament). I would be remiss

if I didn’t single out the joyous rendition of

If I Were a Bell – Frank Loesser’s hit from

the venerable musical Guys and Dolls. Wills

imbues this tune with just the right amount

of spice and sass.

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