J.B. Ball, a rich financier, gets fed up with his free-spending family. He takes his wife's just-bought (very expensive) sable coat and throws it out the window, it lands on poor hard-working girl Mary Smith. But it isn't so easy to just give away something so valuable, as he soon learns.
This is Ann Hampton Callaway's seventh recording, Easy Living, is one of her very best. It's a program of well-known standards and fairly stock arrangements, but in the middle is her pristine, well-defined, flexible voice. She retains a lower-end range in her style that suggests only one singer: Sarah Vaughan. She's joined by several different rhythm sections and soloists, including pianists Benny Green (six cuts), Bill Charlap (five), and Kenny Barron (two); bassists Peter Washington or Neal Miner; drummers Clarence "Tootsie" Bean and Lewis Nash; percussionist Jim Saporito; saxophonists Andy Farber, Nelson Rangell, and Gerry Niewood; and on three selections, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
By the time Norman Connors had left both Buddha and Arista in the early '90s, he spent some time touring and reviewing his career. Easy Living, released by Motown in 1995, is a full-on entry into smooth jazz territory. While Connors still insisted on employing vocals in tunes that looked toward sophisticated nu-soul, it seems that his primary interest was in narrowing down the once rainbow-wide meld of style on which he'd built his reputation as an innovator. Easy Living is a pleasant and at times engaging listen, with pristine production by the artist, violinist Jheryl Lockhart, and pianist /arranger Herman Jackson.
Famous and lesser-known Jazz standards sung beautifully - feeling at once timeless and new. With Joe "Sonny" Barbato - piano, Jim Lyden - bass, Les Harris, Jr. - drums, Vinny Raniolo - guitar, Matt Langley - Saxophone, and Jason Anick - violin…