Maud Hixson lends her warm alto to this new release of well-chosen songs in collaboration with composer Mickey Leonard and arranger Tex Arnold and released through the Kickstarter initiative with a bevy of informed supporters. An acknowledged interpreter of lyrics, Hixson shines on every cut. In a breezy, confident delivery, the purity of Hixson’s alto is understated and crystalline. This further enhances her polished phrasing especially on the most intimate lyric. Listening closely, one can hear fluid influences from many greats though the years. Arnold’s arrangements are delicate and as close to flawless as one can get. This is reflected throughout the disc as a finely tuned musical template. In an album filled with many cozy highlights, particular standouts include jazz-tinged arrangements on the likes of “Don’t Let a Good Thing Get Away,” Leonard’s fine collaboration with lyricist Carolyn Leigh. “Just a Little Love Song” (Russell George) is a nifty surprise in which Leonard added some finishing touches that work to perfection and recalls the genre that produced Doris Day singing sweet songs about love. It is a standout for its simplicity and, yes, that sweetness. “Not Exactly Paris,” written for Margaret Whiting by Russell, sung here with the original opening lyric (which had been changed), scores high marks. “Why Did I Choose You?” is a classic that is very well delivered and also includes the French lyric by Larry Trudel. There’s a lot more that make this CD a keeper. The flawless musicianship of Hixson and her instrumentalists on every level wraps the dreamy album in satin. Each cut has meaning and takes the listener on a gentle journey to remember.
November 1, 2013