Bonnie J Jensen - Blue Joy
Swing Journal, Japan Rating: Outstanding
"Bonnie J Jensen's debut album "Lucky So & So" was a great collection of standards. Her second album centres on contemporary hit songs and original compositions. The first album was redolent of 1950s masterworks, whereas her new album has an AOR feel about it.
These albums express the two sides of one of the most unique recent musical talents, Bonnie Jensen. Which you prefer is a matter of taste.
Bonnie exudes a rich vocal quality she can use freely in all ranges. In "Blue Joy" she displays her ability to sing any type of song. Young jazz fans will find this album very appealing. She is that rare kind of talent who is both a superb singer and a talented original composer.
She has sung at first class hotels and top lounges around the world, but you will not find her singing with the exaggerated shouts or the fanciful Coquetry that club singers are prone to. In that regard, she surely has the grace of someone from "down-under".
Her very fine backing consists of tenor sax, trumpet, guitar and rhythm section, whose splendid solo performances can be heard throughout. In that sense too, I rate this highly as a choice example of a modern vocal album.
Australian Financial Review:
The Sydney-based singer is hardly advanced in years but has passport pages full of foreign gigs to her credit. It was timely, a couple of years back, when her debut album was released - a calling card to announce her presence and show off the wares. Among the impressive run through of jazz standards were a sprinkling of her own compositions which pointed to a seam of talent that should be developed further. Her second album is that leap - a confident, bold and coherent statement of a musician (singer, player, composer and arranger) hitting stride. Jensen is that rarest of things in Australian singers - a full blooded, grown up sexy woman unafraid to let her passions and eroticism inform her music in a sophisticated way, beyond the usual raunchy, bluesy stuff. She's a nightclub singer who belongs in gowns, not jeans, and harkens back to a school and a style that is both timeless and increasingly rare. Performing with her on a selection of her own tunes and such wonders as "This Masquerade", "Every Breath You Take" and "Just The Two of Us" are a crack line-up of jazz musicians that frame this music in just the lustrous and vivid colours it needs. It's a very even album, with no missteps, beginning with Bonnie's own "Tokyo Skies", a remarkably frank and modern exposition of desire and neediness, plumbing a well of lonelines in "Sharing The Night With The Blues", "Good Morning Heartache" and "Baby Come Home" - canny choices all of them - and topped with a radical reworking of Stevie Wonder's "Creepin", replete with Jensen's own rap fantasia at the close. Her reharmonisation of Sting's classic is beautiful and logical, finding new layers in a tune that always hinted they were there.
Bonnie's second album. Every bit as good as her brilliant debut.