Reviews/News for "Only Trust Your Heart"
USA Today Interview and Video (added to site March 23)
CD Review - USA Today (added to site March 23)
MARCH 15, 2011
Dionne Warwick, Only Trust Your Heart
* * * SUMPTUOUS SOUL
The classic soul singer celebrates her 50th year in music with a gorgeous set in which she interprets the compositions of two of Frank Sinatra's favorite songwriters —Sammy Cahn and Jack Wolf. Warwick's sophisticated stylings and the elegant arrangements breathe fresh life into such gems as I'm a Fool to Want You and Pocket Full of Miracles. — Steve Jones
Interview with JazzTimes (added to site March 23)
03/14/11 - By Christopher Loudon
Dionne Warwick: A Walk on the Jazz Side - Legendary singer discusses her new album, her appreciation for jazz and her long career in show business
Among the myriad voices that surfaced throughout the 1960s, Dionne Warwick’s remains one of the most distinctive and most enduring. The first decade of a career that now spans 50 years was defined by a steady stream of million-selling hits custom-crafted for her by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Though she rarely departed from the sort of cream-frosted pop that made her a household name, Warwick managed to redefine her unique sound era after era, ultimately specializing in slickly stylized duets with the likes of Jeffrey Osborne, Luther Vandross, Robin Gibb and Johnny Mathis, a trend that reached its apex with “That’s What Friends Are For,” a 1985 union of Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder that raised more than $3-million for the American Foundation for AIDS research. In 1990, Warwick made her first recorded foray into jazz, crafting an album of Cole Porter standards for Arista under the direction of producer Arif Mardin. But Clive Davis, then head of Arista, deemed the original sessions too jazzy and the tracks were re-recorded. Now, 21 years later, Warwick is revisiting jazzland, this time with 13 Sammy Cahn tunes. Though that distinct Warwick sound remains as strongly identifiable as ever throughout Only Trust Your Heart (released March 15 by MPCA Records), its edges are now softer, its trademark fortitude less forthright. The results are undeniably beautiful, but also demonstrate that Warwick could legitimately opt for a late-breaking second career as a jazz chanteuse. Just prior to the album’s release, Warwick sat down with JazzTimes’ Christopher Loudon to talk about the new album, her 50th showbiz anniversary and her work with such jazz legends as Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Joe Williams.
JazzTimes: 2011 marks your 50th anniversary as a recording artist. How does it feel to reach such a milestone?
Dionne Warwick: You know, it’s kind of surreal. When I first began, the kind of music I was recording was so unorthodox. It was like nothing else that was being played on radio at the time, and most people said, ‘Well, she won’t be around that long.’
JT: Unlike the majority of pop singers who burn hot and then burn out, you’ve demonstrated remarkable durability, achieving new hits decade after decade. What’s the secret of your sustained success?
DW: I don’t really know, aside from the quality of the songs that were written for me. And also being true to who I am; and not jumping ships when new musical trends emerged. I remember when Donna Summer happened. At the time, recordings like mine found very little airplay. But she opened her own door. She didn’t jump into my arena, and I didn’t think I should infringe on hers. Everything has a phase, but thank goodness, good music always reigns.
JT: Back in 1990, when you recorded #The Cole Porter Album# for Arista under the direction of the great Arif Mardin, the original intent was to create a jazz album, but Clive Davis, thought it was too jazzy and asked you to re-do it.
DW: I think Arif did an incredible job, but the first run at it was, in Clive’s words, “a little too smoky nightclub.” And I said, 'Yeah, right, that’s what Cole Porter was all about!' But he wanted Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, so we decided to try it that way, and that’s what we ultimately delivered.
JT: Why the decision, all these years later, to re-visit the idea of a jazz album?
DW: Since the Cole Porter CD, I hadn’t really entertained the thought of doing anything of this nature. But I had a wonderful time doing that one, so I thought, ‘Why not?’ The label was looking for someone to do this [type of material]. They met with my agent, and then we got down to the real deal, which is the music. It was a wonderful experience for me.
JT: The playlist is comprised entirely of songs written or co-written by Sammy Cahn, whose songbook includes some 1500 tunes. How did you arrive at the ones you chose?
DW: The label started sending me songs. I got a zillion songs they wanted me listen to. I listened to 15 or 20 a day for a couple of weeks, and gradually narrowed it down to the 13 we got. Some are very familiar. Others are songs that people may have heard before, but aren’t as instantly recognizable. The beauty of the project was that we did it all live, with real live musicians in the studio with me, playing real live instruments. That was very, very reminiscent of the way I recorded [earlier in my career]. We had a good time, making some great sounds.
JT: On the upbeat numbers there seems a strong sense of those great Ella Fitzgerald sessions from the late 1950s with Nelson Riddle.
DW: A more direct influence was Sarah Vaughan. She went to school with my mother, and I knew her as Aunt Sass. She was in my living room a lot when I was growing up, and I adored her. She did a [Cahn] song on one of her albums called “Wonder Why.” Before I heard Aunt Sass’ version, I’d never heard the song before. I immediately said, ‘That’s a must!’ Ray Angry, the piano player who is absolutely brilliant, said, ‘How do you want to do it’ and I said, ‘We’re going to get as close to Aunt Sass as we can, without me making a fool of myself!’ So, he said, “OK, let’s try it.’ And that’s how all of the sessions went.
JT: Though you’ve long been hailed as a superb balladeer, the ballads on this album seem more vulnerable than we’ve come to expect from you, a little more fragile.
DW: When I’m singing songs that weren’t specifically written for me, as most of the Bacharach and David songs I did over the years were, my tendency is to give a treatment that I really know nothing about. Whatever happens to come out of my mouth at that time is, I figure, the way I’m supposed to treat the song.
JT: Any plans to continue in the jazz vein, and deliver more albums of this sort?
DW: I might, but I’d also like to try a few other genres. I’m contemplating a country album. I feel I’d fit very comfortably with that, because I’ve always closely associated country music with gospel music. The one thing I’ll never try is rap, or hip-hop!
JT: Given how pop-centric your career has been, many people might be surprised to discover how many jazz giants you’ve worked with over the years, like Count Basie.
DW: Big Daddy we called him. What a gentle man. He always had a smile. He was godfather to my dearest friend, Pam. That is how I was first introduced to him. And then I had the pleasure of being on the road and doing a few concerts with him and the band. He was a gem.
JT: You also performed several times with Joe Williams.
DW: Working with him was a dream come true. I got to sing with him at a benefit in Los Angles just prior him making his transition. And that’s when I found out that he and I shared the same birthday!
JT: And Duke Ellington…
DW: I met him early in my career. I happened to me in some foreign country. It was in South America. He was doing a special that I happened to be scheduled on, so I got to sing with the mighty Duke. It was amazing. He was such a kind gentleman, and such a giving person. Singing his music was very much like singing Bacharach and David melodies – you really have to know what you’re doing.
JT: In 1976, you were part of an incredible line-up that participated in the tongue-twisting CBS special The Original Rompin’ Stompin’ Hot and Heavy, Cool and Groovy All Star Jazz Show.
DW: Talk about amazing! The two days we shot that show, I was in heaven. Count Basie, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Joe Williams. It was incredible — definitely one of those ‘you had to be there’ times. There was no other way to truly appreciate what was happening in that studio.
JT: Though many still argue that the Great American Songbook is bookended by the 1920s and the 1950s, and is restricted to Porter, Irving Berlin, the Gershwins and their ilk, I’d argue that Bacharach and David should be included among the charter members.
DW: I totally agree. The Bacharach-David songbook will be remembered long after we’re all gone. We were known in the industry as the ‘triangle marriage that worked.’ And when you find something as cohesive as the three of us were, it is very magical.
JT: You mentioned in your memoirs that the one Bacharach-David song you weren’t really sold on was “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”
DW: And until I re-recorded it, I still wasn’t that thrilled with it. I felt I had to do it because of Hal. He had a close affinity to San Jose. But, I got to cry all the way to the bank.
JT: Though you introduced most of the great Bacharach-David tunes, most have also been covered by a wide spectrum of artists. One of the exceptions is “Promises, Promises,” even though it is such a superb song.
DW: Listen to it and try to count the bars. Then you’ll understand why more people don’t cover that song. When I recorded “Promises, Promises,” nobody was more surprised than Burt, Hal and myself that we had a hit with it. You certainly can’t dance to it!
JT: You were also the first to record Bacharach and David’s “Close to You.”
DW: Yes, long before the Carpenters existed! But I adored their sound. Karen is somebody I still play at home. There are certain voices that simply soothe you. Her voice does that for me.
JT: Another of the greats you’ve had a long professional association with is Johnny Mathis.
DW: He is one of my dear, dear friends, and I am an avid fan. John and I have been friends for more years than either of us would probably want to admit. He is such a gentleman, and boy can he sing! And he gets better and better every year.
JT: Over the years, you’ve become as famous for vocal duets, including several with Mathis, as you have for your solo work.
DW: The one thing I find easy is to perform with friends. Whatever I do is OK with them, and whatever they do is OK with me. The first time I worked with John, I froze in the studio, and everyone laughed at me for a long time. I stood there watching him sing, and completely forgot that I was supposed to sing too. So he turned to me and said, ‘Um, you’re turn!’
JT: You also counted Lena Horne as both a friend and mentor.
DW: She is an icon. She paved the way for a lot of us ladies. She and Marlene Dietrich were the only two women my mother allowed me to call ‘mama.’ Lena was ‘mama,’ and she called me ‘daughter.’ She was so inspirational. She showed such leadership. Every time I saw her or Diahann Carroll or Ella Fitzgerald or Eartha Kitt or Sammy Davis Jr., those were my teachers.
JT: Though he doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, it could easily be argued that Sammy Davis Jr. was the greatest all-around entertainer of the past century.
DW: Absolutely. He did everything, and he did it all well. He danced, he sang, he told jokes, he did impressions, he played drums. And he was amazingly generous. He would literally give you the shirt off your back.
JT: A few years ago, you numbered among the remarkable women honored by Oprah Winfrey as living legends.
DW: That was another ‘you had to be there’ moment. I remember vividly saying to Oprah, ‘This is unbelievable. All you had to say to us was thank you.’ And she said, ‘I am. This is my way of saying thank you.’ It was a weekend that I will always remember.
JT: Another of the giants honored that weekend was Nancy Wilson.
DW: I love Nancy. She’s my pinochle buddy. We’ve watched the sun go down, and watched it come up, and watched it go down again, all while playing pinochle.
JT: Like Nancy Wilson and Lena Horne and Sarah Vaughan, you’ve always taken the professional high road.
DW: I don’t know any other way. It befuddles me watching the singers of today, seeing what they do and how they do it. But I also realize that today it is no longer about audio. It’s all video marketing. And they really know how to do that. But for me, it is imperative to be who I am at all times.
Amazon.com Ranking (added to site March 22)
#3 in Music > Jazz > Traditional Jazz & Ragtime
Amazon.com Reviews (added to site March 22)
5.0 out of 5 stars After all these years..Still at the Top of her game!, March 19, 2011
What can i say that hasn't been said? This is a GREAT CD!
Funny because this is my first review in ages, and the first new release cd i have purchased in at least a year, only because the music of today is so full of total garbage and i have no use for it, but when Dionne Warwick comes out with something new, i always take notice.
I have been a fan of Dionne's since i was a kid back in the 70's and this Living Legend proves once again why she is a Legendary Music Icon!
The song tracks are wonderful and the arrangements are lush and yet so classy and pleasing to the ear.
Dionne's vocal execution on each song is simply amazing to say the least!, her voice is in top form... beautifully clear and filled with every bit of emotion on every track.
My favorite on this cd is Pocketfull Of Miracles ...now that is singing at it's Best!
Bravo Dionne for showing you have still Got It!..at any age!
If your a Dionne fan or just love listening to a real pro with amazing talent..then this cd is for you!
Forget today's array of so called singers..they have nothin' on Miss Dionne!
I give it 5 stars and it deserves every one! Buy a copy..you'll be happy you did!..i know i am ! :-)
5.0 out of 5 stars Dionne is BACK!!!, March 19, 2011
Wow this is really a great, great effort from Dionne. The lush arrangements, the wonderful musicians and the Great Dionne Warwick really make you fall in love with this type of music all over again. My understanding this cd was done in the 'old style' with the musicians and the singer in the same room performing together. This is such a great way to make a record. Since I recieved this cd it has not left my car's cd player and I have not tired of listening to these tunes.
Younger singers, listen and learn, please!!! Dionne you are wonderful, simply wonderful.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll Never Stop Loving Dionne, March 18, 2011
I think Dionne's new album is one of her best. Her voice is in great form, and her emotional and nuanced interpretation of these timeless songs is excellent. In addition to what Dionne brings to the table, the musical arrangements are gorgeous. My only complaint is that I want more:) This is such a top-notch production, that one can't help but want to hear Dionne wrap her velvety voice around another collection of standards. This amazing album, from one of the greatest vocalists of all time, is definitely a must-buy for jazz and pop music lovers alike.
4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth and Easy Breezey Dionne returns!, March 17, 2011
The enduring legendary lady of song, Dionne Warwick has reached back for her latest CD release. A classic and lush production with strings, the CD is crafted like an old Johnny Mathis long playing record. The 70 year-old singer is in good voice. She is really singing. No noticeable studio tricks or tweaks. Not even a sweetening of background vocalists helping her along. The iron clad diva is alone! She effectively uses a falsetto approach. Her phrasing is impressive. It brings to mind the Dionne of say three, four decades ago. That, in and of itself is saying a hell of a lot! Those who like easy listening stuff of this sort are in for a treat. Many old school jazz stations are sure to pick up on playing this 4 star effort. Ms. Warwick deserves a Grammy for this one. It's a good job from a veteran performer who still has what it takes to get the job done right.
5.0 out of 5 stars MOST DELIGHTFUL - DIONNE STILL HAS IT BIGTIME, March 16, 2011
I've been anxiously waiting for this treat of Sammy Cahn-Jack Wolf-Jimmy Van Heusen, et al treasures as done by the legendary Dionne Warwick. The album is delightful from beginning to end and covers such an array of song styles. The title track is a gem, and has a great feel of the uptempo Bacharach-David hits of the 60s. Love Ms. D's sassy side on Keep Me In Mind. Her tender take on Pocketful Of Miricles sounds as if she's singing intimately to her grandchildren, and brings this great tune back in a whole new light. This is a great relax-to album, or to play at dinner or a Sunday brunch. Definitely ear candy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily her best work in decades, March 15, 2011
Dionne finally brings her towering qualities as a song stylist to the Great American Songbook and by doing so she also makes a strong and important case that Burt Bacharach and Hal David and DW were really always part of it. Like latter years Sinatra or Lena Horne she takes her towering skills as a song stylist and ads enormous warmth and the unique perspective that comes with a lifetime of experience. I can not think of any contemporary Jazz vocalist that brings such emotional depth to this sort of material and such instinctive genius as a stylist.
Album Featured on iTunes (added to site March 20)
Dionne's new album is featured on the front page of iTunes Jazz “New & Noteworthy”
New York Post Review (added to site March 20)
Many people today know Dionne Warwick for "Celebrity Apprentice" more than for her singing. A listen to her newest album may change the equation.
With the same earthy and pure delivery she used to ask directions in "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" back in 1968, Warwick takes on the jazz standards of Sammy Cahn. At first, "Only Trust Your Heart" feels slow and quiet, but repeated listens prove that effort nicely showcases Warwick's vocal skills. She easily carries melodies such as "The Second Time Around" with natural confidence, and her 50 years behind the mike allow her to easily unbutton the song's emotional wallop. That happens again on the optimistic album closer, "Pocketful of Miracles."
Amazon.com Review (added to site March 20)
***** 5 stars DIONNE SCORES BIG WITH SAMMY CAHN BALLADS, BLUES, BOSSAS & SWINGERS !, March 15, 2011
This review is from: Only Trust Your Heart (Audio CD)
Five BIG Stars! Like a superb vintage wine, the multiple Grammy-winning super-diva delivers a 2011 winner! In her 50th Anniversary year of musical excellency, the legendary Dionne Warwick emerges in great voice at age 70 to focus exclusively on the music of the genius songwriter and lyricist Sammy Cahn and his musical partners.
On this CD, whether backed by a small combo, big band with strings and chorus, or simply a piano, Dionne deftly merges the jazz, pop, blues, and latin music worlds on one disc, as she serves up both familiar and obscure Cahn songs supported by a number of improvised jazz solos and lush musical interludes throughout. The 'best of the best' begins with the heartfelt title song "Only Trust Your Heart" served up as a wonderful bossa nova (that went straight to my crowded iPod).
"Wonder Why" swings madly with Dionne in great form buoyed by a very nice piano solo in the middle. The obscure, bouncy "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are" also gets the latin treatment that works very well. Dionne turns "If You Can Dream" into a vocal marvel with a nice piano/strings interlude. "The Second Time Around" is pure Tin Pan Alley joy with those nice Warwick nuances. And perhaps the best of them all is the beautiful, intimate "Pocketful of Miracles", supported only by piano, which is tailor made for late-night listening, allowing her to show off her gorgeous vibrato.
While not fully a jazz recording, this CD has enough great songs to prove that she can get "jazzier" anytime she wants and she has always been a superb interpreter of lyrics by everyone from Bacharach/David to Stevie Wonder to the BeeGees and now Sammy Cahn. Encore, Dionne! Highly Recommended. Five ENJOYABLE Stars.