"Songs are channels for me, avenues of expression for my feelings. So many songs - I've collected them all my life. Melodies that resonate in my heart. Lyrics that speak for me. Songs I picked up in my Great-Grandmother's attic playing her old one-side Edison 78 rpm discs, fragile as shale, on a discarded wind-up phonograph....
"Singing the wonderful songs of "Blue Rendezvous" is to take a journey, dark, but joyous. I mapped it; I charted the ups and downs. In the spirit of ' it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,' this is a wee-small hours, wistful rendezvous with gauzy blue memories. It may still hurt, but we must look back in order to move on. So . . . if we're going to take this trip, let's really let go. Submerge ourselves in the bubbles, melt in the music, drown in memories. A catharsis in champagne, a journey through the blues."
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Arrangements by Mike Renzi
Mike Renzi on Piano
Jay Leonhart on Bass Ronnie Zito on Drums Bill Easley on Woodwinds (tracks: 1, 4, 10, 11) Jay Berliner on Guitar (tracks: 6, 9, 12) Wayne Andre' on Trombone (tracks: 2, 7, 13) Warren Chiasson on Vibes (tracks: 6, 9) Michael Leonhart on Trumpet (tracks: 3, 5)
Recorded and Mixed at Nola Studios, NYC 1994 - 95
Engineer: Jim Czak
Mastering: Thomas Spahn, TRA Productions, Inc., NYC, Harry Hirsch, Digi-Rom, NYC
Cover: Bryce Evans
Photo: Ken Howard
Art Direction & Layout: Bob Forman
Music Preparation: Joel Craig
Research: The Great Songs Thesaurus, Roger Lax, Frederick Smith;
Lissauer's Encyclopedia of Popular Music In America, Robert Lissauer
A COLLECTION OF 14 BITTERSWEET MIDNIGHT- BLUE SONGS, THIS ALBUM IS A WISTFUL RENDEZVOUS WITH GAUZY BLUE MEMORIES, A CATHARSIS IN CHAMPAGNE, FEATURING SMOKY-VOICED CYNTHIA CRANE ("EXCITING CHANTEUSE" - VARIETY) ALONG WITH ARRANGER-ACCOMPANIST-TO-THE-STARS MIKE RENZI, BACKED UP BY SOME OF NEW YORK'S FINEST MUSICIANS: JAY LEONHART, BASS; RONNIE ZITO, DRUMS; BILL CHIASSON, VIBES; WAYNE ANDRE, TROMBONE AND 1992 GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING PRODIGY, MICHAEL LEONHART ON TRUMPET.
Last year I picked New York Cabaret artists Cynthia Crane & Mike Renzi's SMOKY BAR SONGS FOR THE NO-SMOKING SECTION as the best jazz album of the year. The team is back with a new set for 1995 that's just as good as '94's triumph. The feeling of BLUE RENDEZVOUS is like being in a club after-hours, when everyone lets their hair down and allows the music to take them. Crane is in seductively fine voice and if there's a better arranger working today than Renzi, I've never heard of him or her. Together, Crane & Renzi make music most magical. With material ranging from songwriters Dave Frishberg and Harold Arlen to Cy Coleman, Mel Torme and Jule Styne, the singer serves the song and songwriter first and does it with style, class and an enticement that is almost hypnotic. When you go out to buy BLUE RENDEZVOUS, if you don't already have SMOKY BAR SONGS, pick up both titles and put them on back to back. I did it last night. Twice. - Jeff Rossen, Gay Chicago
"Crane has a husky voice that's just right for the wee small hours of the morning. Like fine wine; nicely aged, mature and saucy." - Peter Filichia, Theater Week
Cynthia Crane deserves to be better known. Her latest CD, BLUE RENDEZVOUS, is a torchy collection of standards and lesser-known material that shows off her smoky contralto at its best. Her style is real, heartfelt and deeply affecting. - Eric Meyers, Time Out NY
Cynthia Crane's BLUE RENDEZVOUS has been getting wide air play and justly deserved accolades from jazz mavens. This CD marks Crane's graduation to a major force among the new crop of American jazz singers. Mike Renzi's arrangements are exciting and Crane's voice has taken on a deeper, sexier quality. There's a sensuality to her performance which seems to proceed from a deep emotional reservoir. - Martin Schaeffer, Back Stage
There is nothing better than a vocalist with a deep, dark vibrato and great intonation. If you like June Christy, Billie Holliday, or Ann Richards, then you will like this one. - R. Romus, Jazz Now