Bewitched – Not Bothered, Not Bewildered is the debut recording by singer Suzanna Ross, and it is difficult not to be impressed by both her inviting voice and her versatility. A New York-based vocalist who has performed at many jazz and cabaret venues, Ms. Ross gives one the impression that she could sing nearly anything and sound quite comfortable.
Joined on this recording by pianist-arranger Gregory Toroian, bassist Skip Ward and drummer David Silliman, Suzanna Ross sings jazz standards, several songs in French, bossa novas, some offbeat pop songs, and tunes taken from films. While her repertoire ranges from Nat King Cole (“Come To Baby, Do”) to Herman’s Hermits (“There’s A Kind Of Hush”), she and her sympathetic sidemen (who offer solid and subtle support along with occasional solos) turn all of the music into jazz while not losing the essence of the original conceptions.
The program begins with a medium-tempo waltz version of Kenny Rankin’s “Haven’t We Met,” the theme from the television show “Bewitched” (which swings joyfully and has solo spots for each of the instrumentalists) and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Dreamer” which is given a tender interpretation. The playful “Ces petits riens,” a dramatic “Parlez-moi de lui,” “For me formidable” and even part of “Over The Rainbow” have Suzanna Ross singing quite effectively in French. She revives “Mr. Wonderful” (a nice song that should be sung more often), takes “Summer Me, Winter Me” at a faster pace than usual, and excels during an arrangement of “My Favorite Things” that alternates between ¾ and 4/4 time.
There are no throwaways on this set which includes a slow and somewhat touching version of “Laura,” the happy “Come to Baby, Do,” “Over The Rainbow,” the Australian rock song “Boomerang Baby” (which is given a groove reminiscent of “Fever”), “There’s A Kind Of Hush,” and the philosophical art song “Live For Life.”
Suzanna Ross is heard in winning form through her enjoyable set, an easily recommended CD that gives listeners the perfect opportunity to discover the warm singer.
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian