Deanne Matley: The Alberta Lounge

The Canadian performer brings her strong, vibrant singing to Oscar Peterson's repertoire, including her own French lyrics for Lionel Hampton


For the past decade, Deanne Matley has been delighting Canadians and with this excellent album she not only shows why but is also certain to expand her audience internationally. Her strong, vibrant singing is ideally suited to the songs she has chosen here. Some are lively, others thoughtful, a few are rarely heard, none of them is overdone.

These songs include I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, by Jimmy McHugh-Dorothy Fields, Jorge Ben Hor’s Mas Que Nada, sung here in Portuguese, Gene Austin’s How Come You Do Me Like You Do, Don Redman-Andy Razaf’s Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You, and Matley’s own The Alberta Lounge and If You Were Here Today. She also provides French lyrics for Lionel Hampton and Jeri Jones’s Je Ne Sais Pas.

Her diction is clear and she interprets lyrics with warmth and understanding. Allied to a wholly engaging sound, Matley displays a relaxed manner throughout and is buoyed by pianist Taurey Butler, bassist Morgan Moore and drummer Richard Irwin, who combine to keep things lightly swinging. The two tracks with pianist Paul Shrofel and guitarist Steve Raegele joining Morgan and Irwin are a similar meeting of musical minds. Instrumental solos interspersed throughout are all well taken. As many will have noted, the Alberta Lounge has a special place in the early career of Oscar Peterson and the singer acknowledges this by including two of his compositions, Hymn To Freedom and When Summer Comes.

Unlike many young and upcoming singers, Matley constantly demonstrates that she is stylistically attuned to the core values of jazz singing, bringing to some songs soulful echoes of the blues. This album is replete with proof that Canadian audiences are right to have recognised Deanne Matley as a singer of note and undoubtedly the rest of the world will follow their lead. This exceptional and very enjoyable album is a fine example of jazz singing at its best and is strongly recommended.

(2) The Alberta Lounge; (1) Mas Que Nada; I Can’t Give You Anything But Love; Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You; Merci Pour Ça! (Je Ne Sais Pas); The Land Was White (When Summer Comes); How Come You Do Me Like You Do; (2) If You Were Here Today; (1) Tristeza; Hymn To Freedom (41.02) 
(1) Matley (v); Taurey Butler (p); Morgan Moore (b); Richard Irwin (d). Montreal, 14-16 December 2021 & 22, 23 January 2022.
(2) as (1) Paul Shrofel (p, repl. Butler); add Steve Raegele (g). Montreal, 8 February 2022.
Barbette Records BBR224