Twirling Jonathan Katz's nimble and deft piano accompaniment around her finger like an alluring chanteuse, Andrea Hopkins explores Vocal Jazz styles in a voice as emotive as it is beguiling on their engaging and very fine CD, "Happy Talk." Tackling a collection of primarily Great American Songbook standards – from Hoagy Carmichaels' "The Nearness of You," to Harold Arlen's immortal "Over the Rainbow," to Ray Noble's "Cherokee," Hopkins & Katz neatly strike a balance between provocative interpretations and familiar readings, proving how much life is still left in these old warhorses. Nevertheless, covering such standards as these (as well as "Bye Bye Blackbird" or "Misty") can be a double-edged sword for performers, exposing - as it does, new renditions to the harsh glow of comparison (i.e., to the Sinatra's, Fitzgerald's, and Garlands et al whose voices defined the songbook.) To their credit, the duo handles the challenge with assurance and no lack of self- confidence. Hopkins' voice is equal parts sultry, evocative, and pitch perfect, while Katz' keys delve the melodic and harmonic possibilities of these classic tunes with intelligence and nuance, but always in a manner that allows Hopkins room to interpret. In sum, the combined talents and sheer musicality of Andrea Hopkins & Jonathan Katz make "Happy Talk" an endearing and completely satisfying CD.
-Rice B. and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out Andrea Hopkins & Jonathan Katz 's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites