Jun 23, 2011
Sixteen months ago I did an interview and podcast with singer Sachal Vasandani, and called to your attention a developing young talent. With the release of his third CD, Hi-Fly, Vasandani shows he is ready to move into the big time. Music from the CD can be heard here.
A singer of great range and emotion, he tackles both standards and original compositions with obvious vest and desire. His two duets with mentor Jon Hendricks ( a romping "One Mint Julep,” and Randy Weston’s bouncing title track) show he’s ready to scat, growl and sing with soul, and his simple version of “All the Way” is unabashedly romantic. “The Very Thought of You” is given a refreshingly uptempo treatment that turns the old chestnut into an evergreen.
The originals which he penned on his last CD, We Move, had something of a dark streak, which is replaced on Hi-Fly with wistfulness and optimism. "Summer No School" looks back at playground romance with a sigh and a smile, while “Babe’s Blues” is a take-no-prisoners vocal treat, as he explores the range of his vocal abilities. “Flood” is the CD’s highlight, as Sachal reaches down deep to share the pain of, but offer hope to, those suffering from recent natural disasters across the world.
Pianist Jeb Patton and bassist David Wong are once again an outstanding collaborators for Sachal, and the addition of players like John Ellis on saxophone has given the band a fuller, richer sound. All in all, Hi-Fly is the large step forward I had hoped Sachal Vasandani would take on his way to the top.