Stories » With her gift for composing, sparking piano, and elegant vocals, Sarah McKenzie takes a fearless approach on 'Secrets of My Heart' / MAKING A SCENE

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With her gift for composing, sparking piano, and elegant vocals, Sarah McKenzie takes a fearless approach on 'Secrets of My Heart' / MAKING A SCENE

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Australian pianist, singer, composer Sarah McKenzie became well established globally with her Impulse! 2017 Paris in the Rain and now returns on an independent label with the half originals/half covers Secrets of My Heart. She reunites with noted Australian composer, arranger, and events music director Chong Lim who produced her first two projects. This was recorded in New York City with a core quartet of French bassist Pierre Boussaguet, guitarist Dan Wilson and drummer Donald Edwards. Tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, cellist Judy Redhage, flutist Danilo Caymmi and percussionists James Mack and Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Bocatto also support McKenzie on select tunes. Both Wilson and Roberts are from Joey DeFrancesco's band.

There are plenty of gems in her originals, but we'll take the covers first. She opens with John Barry and Leslie Bricusse's "You Only Live Twice" ( a theme from the James Bond film of the same name) that showcases both her vocal talents and sprightly piano touch. She delivers her interpretation of the Stanley Styne/Donald Kahn classic "A Beautiful Friendship" and shows her bluesy side, with scintillating guitar from Wilson, on Dinah Washington's "Come on Home." The closing track is a dazzling piano medley of her Gershwin favorites, snippets of "Rhapsody in Blue," "Summertime," "The Man I Love," and "I Got Rhythm."

McKenzie is exploring with a fearless eclectic approach. With her gift for composing, her sparking piano work and elegant vocal delivery, she seems right at home with these accompanists.

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