Ken Wild/Tom Rizzo/Susan Krebs
A serendipitous gig led to these three L.A. musicians getting together for this recording of standards. In fact the oldest song here is the oft-covered Lennon/McCartney “Eleanor Rigby.” What makes it different from other standard fare is its sparsity– just Tom Rizzo’s guitar, Ken Wild’s standup bass, and the sultry, breathy, caressing vocals of Susan Krebs. This is about as elegant as music gets. As Rizzo says, ‘Susan and Kenny ARE the music. This unlikely trio (no dedicated time-keeper0 has allowed the three of us to find each other’s pulse- a wonderful and unexpectedly fun way to make music together.”
This is the epitome of late night listening. Turn down the lights, put another log on the fire, and cuddle up with a special someone if you’re so fortunate. Krebs has impeccable phrasing to the extent that you not only hear every word but the syllables and her emphasis on the key words. Meanwhile Rizzo fills with his melodic, bright guitar tone and lines while Wild provides that heavy undercurrent that the other two to float over. Even though you’ve doubtlessly heard all these songs, the delicate and elegant treatment is special.
Here’s the track list:
Don’t Go to Strangers
My Foolish Heart
I’ve Never Been in Love Before
Never Had the Blues at All
I’m So Lonesome
You Don’t Know What Love Is
The album has strong interpretations throughout but especially in the sequence from hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Paring down really enables the trio to get to the essence of the lyrics and mood of the tune.
The three musicians have ridiculously strong pedigrees. Here’s a brief capsule on each. Bassist Ken Wild is a founding member of the band Seawind. Since 1976, Ken has been an active studio musician, working in TV and film, as well as many recordings including Clare Fischer Big Band, Harvey Mason and Tierney Sutton. He has performed with Dianne Reeves, Terence Blanchard, James Moody, Herb Ellis, and Natalie Cole among others.
Guitarist Tom Rizzo has played with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Maynard Ferguson, Brain Wilson and Natalie Cole among many others. He was the guitarist for the Tonight Show Band for 10 years and played with Doc Severinsen’s jazz group Xebron. He’s also done major work in commercials for radio, film, and TV.
Susan Krebs comes by way mostly of theater and acting on TV and in films. (Film: 28 days, TV: Mad Men, Theater Improv: War Babies). She sings live in several venues around L.A. and has a recent recording – SPRING – Light Out of Darkness with the Susan Krebs Chamber Band.
While the songs are far from new, it’s the elegant, classy rendering and that special “low lights” mood that make for a most enjoyable listen.
- Jim Hynes