11.29.06All About Jazz by Michael P. Gladstone
This is Armenian-born singer Sara Yervand's debut recording, and I like her jazz sensibilities. The ten tracks are comprised of mostly the same old standards that you've heard quite a bit, but Yervand and a fine group lift them a notch or two through their performance.
The recording begins with a rarely heard vocal version of Victor Young's "Beautiful Love," surely one of the favorite tunes of the late Bill Evans. Yervand takes the piece at a sprightly mid-tempo pace with some stimulating trumpet work by Dave Cooper. Another jazz standard that you don't hear sung very often, "Moon Ray," is given a similar reading that totally swings! A slightly Latinized "Speak Low" is given a nice pickup by the tenor sax solo of Anders Svanoe (who also shows up with two nice baritone solos elsewhere). Cellist Matt Turner opens "Manha de Carnaval" with a stirring statement and then later adds more when the bossa rhythm has kicked in. Turner later contributes beautiful work on "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
Sara Yervand's presentation is that of a seasoned jazz vocalist, and although you can detect a very faint accent on some of the up-tempo numbers, it should not interfere with your enjoyment of the music.
Track listing: Beautiful Love; But Beautiful; Speak Low; Moon Ray; Manha de Carnaval (A Day In The Life Of A Fool); It's All Right With Me; How Long Has This Been Going On?; Fly Me To The Moon; Love For Sale; Lush Life.
Personnel: Sara Yervand: vocals; Dave Stoler, Armen Donelian: piano; Jim Paolo: bass; Dane Richeson: drums, percussion; Dave Cooper: trumpet; Anders Svanoe: saxophones; Matt Turner: cello.
11.29.06JAZZ IMPROVE MAGAZINE / By Jim Santella
With her program of familiar standards and a swinging ensemble of strong accompanists, Sara Yervand creates an enjoyable session that features expressive vocals. She gives each lyric its due, convincing through her personal grasp of each theme.
The songs that she’s chosen wear well with our thoughts about jazz in general. They’re all a significant part of jazz history. With “Mahna de Carnaval" Yervand opts for English lyrics to express the melancholy theme. With a warm ensemble sound all around her, she squeezes every ounce of Brazilian blues out of the song. Trumpet and cello lend their voices o the equation for a mellow affair, as the singer sashays with ease. “Love for sale" features alto saxophone and trumpet with the piano trio in a swinging affair. Like the original Cole Porter idea for the piece, she delivers with cool authority, reminding the listener that life has its gloss. Baritone saxophone and trumpet step in for “It’s All Right with Me," one of her better interpretations. Yervand captures the song’s essence with passion and travels through her vocal range to meet that objective. Matt Turner’s cello makes a great impact, particularly on “Fly me to the Moon," which Yervand sings with a cool demeanor. His creative display gives the piece an exotic feeling. Armen Donelian joins her for two tracks, including a lovely duo performance of “Lush Life" that closes the program. She’s comfortable interpreting this treasured ballad with piano accompaniment, and appears convincing throughout the album.
CD Review By Jim Santella / published in Jazz Improv Magazine Vol.6 Number 2, Winter 2006
10.01.06Isthmus Magazine / By Tom Laskin
"Yervand's a skillful jazz chanteuse. The former Sara Erzinkian has plenty of club experience, and that shows in her ability to express a strong sense of personality on this CD's 10 selections. Yervand was born in Armenia and had extensive stage experience there and very occasionally you catch a hint of an accent in her appealing, Sarah Vaughan-influenced treatment of "Moon Ray." But that's not a flaw; it actually sets her apart from the parade of singers trying to become the next Diana Krall. Speaking of personality, there's nothing on Introducing Sara Yervand quite as bold as her exploration of "Mahna de Carnaval," which finds her acting the bittersweet part of a yearning lover with real intelligence. No glossy sentimentality here, just palpable emotions modulated along a very believable dramatic arc. Yervand's accompanists include many of the region's most accomplished players(trumpeter Dave Cooper, drummer Dane Richeson, etc.), some of whom flirt unexpectedly with dissonance on a raucous run-through of "Love for Sale." But Yervand's voice offer most of the excitement and the surprises here in winning, often very playful performances that at times seem drawn from an intimate club gig." Tom Laskin Isthmus Magazine
09.29.06Wisconsin State Journal / by Kevin Lynch
" She already seems to have mastered a subtle sense of jazz phrasing - placing words, accents and flourishes around the beat, all of which is quite evident right from the CD opening track "But Beautiful..."
09.01.06Rick's Cafe / by Judy Brady
"The production is flawless, balanced and clean, significant in its effect on Yervand's silky voice and interpretation with the band, and Yervand's father's exquisite arrangements..."