Up to Now
Personnel: Bonnie Lowdermilk - vocals/piano, Greg Gisbert - trumpet, flugelhorn, Peter Sommer - tenor, soprano saxes, Nelson Hinds - trombone, Ken Walker or Mark Simon - bass, Colin Stranahan - drums 'It might have taken Bonnie Lowdermilk a little more than a decade to release the followup to her previous album with the Fred Hersch Trio, but Up to Now was well worth the wait. With help from some of the area's finest players, including Mark Simon, Ken Walker and Greg Gisbert, Lowdermilk has created a delightful album that shows the jazz vocalist/pianist in complete control of her vocals, especially on the buoyant and swinging opener 'Day by Day,' which also features swift tenor work from Peter Sommer, and on Clifford Brown's 'Joy Spring.' In addition to some smart arrangements on nearly a dozen standards, Lowdermilk also wrote a few originals, including the yearning movie-star fantasy crush on 'Bankin' on the Moon.'' Jon Solomon, Westword 'Her vocal strut boasts a self-assurance relatable to Diana Krall and a rhythmic chiming reflective of Dena DeRose. Lowdermilk adds personality and poignant inflections through Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern's tune "Nobody Else But Me," and evokes pure emotion along the wispy strokes of "Moon River" as her vocals advance and ebb along the ducts of lacy piano keys. The horn arrangement opening "Power Tool" exude a spirited rhapsody which switches directions and fosters a supper club atmosphere in "Dancing In The Dark." Lowdermilk's style of singing is dapper chaffed in roughly cut edges that give her resonance a rugged texture that is both real and attractive. Writing and performing for two decades now, Bonnie Lowdermilk has honed her craft to a Dianne Reeves-sparkle.' Susan Frances - Jazz Times 'Ms. Lowdermilk, who provided the arrangements, contributed three originals to the standards-oriented set. While the repertoire includes some warhorses, these versions are often quite unusual. Obviously she loves uptempo material for "Day By Day," "You've Changed" and "Jitterbug Waltz" (the three opening cuts) are all taken at surprisingly fast tempos. Somehow she handles the lyrics of "Jitterbug Waltz" effortlessly at this pace. The musicianship of the players is excellent (Gisbert is the most famous player on the date) and the leader is a fluent pianist with a swinging style. Her singing, which includes a lot of sliding between notes, is worth the effort to appreciate for she is quite expressive, versatile and musical.' Scott Yanow - Los Angeles Jazz Scene.