Reviewers Say...

Melissa Collard 
Old Fashioned Love 

This is a CD that is impossible not to love. Melissa Collard, who is based in the San Francisco Bay area and has sung regularly with Dick Oxtot's Golden Age Jazz Band and a Western Swing big band (Lost Weekend), has a very inviting and cheerful voice. She clearly loves interpreting swing standards. Her choice of notes is flawless, as is her enunciation and her sense of swing. Add to that an impeccable repertoire for this CD and one has the potential for a memorable set. 

Putting this release over the top is the backup band which is arranged inventively by trombonist Dan Barrett, who doubles on cornet. With guitarist Eddie Erickson (who, like Barrett, is with the Rebecca Kilgore group B.E.D.), pianist Ray Skjelbred (who recalls Jess Stacy), bassist Steven Strauss and the occasional reeds of Richard Hadlock (who is strongest on alto) as the core group, Ms. Collard is joined by very sympathetic musicians. Three songs have a trombone trio consisting of Barrett, Bill Bardin and Bob Mielke, and a couple guests give a Hawaiian flavor to "On A Coconut Island" and a Django Reinhardt-Stephane Grappelly interpretation to "I'll See You In My Dreams." 

Melissa Collard sounds quite wonderful on such numbers as "I've Had My Moments," "Old Fashioned Love," "Nevertheless I'm In Love With You," "Warm Valley" (which she takes wordlessly, harmonizing with Barrett), "Street Of Dreams," "Stardust," and virtually all 14 selections. Suffice it to say that this disc (available from www.melissacollard.com) is a must for swing fans, and that lovers of superior jazz vocalists should make themselves aware of Melissa Collard.

Scott Yanow

Copyright 2005 Melissa Collard