I’ll Meet You At the Lobby (Music Thoughts: Jazz In The Lobby Bar, Joann Funk & Jeff Brueske)

1436114536_folderPeople make fun of lounge singers, as some of them can fall into elevator/easy listening mode: you know, the kind of music best suited as background noise. That doesn’t seem to be the case at the lobby of historic St. Paul Hotel in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as evidenced by the album “Jazz In The Lobby Bar,” the album featuring JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske. She is on vocals and piano, he is on bass. The album is near perfection – jazzy, breezy, contemplative even. I am especially taken by Funk – she has an appealing bedroom coquettish voice, kind of like a modern Blossom Dearie – it’s instantly unique, recognizable, and intimate. She herself does the arrangements for these songs, and they are wonderful, making songs like “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “The Very Thought Of You” sound fresher than Minnesotan snow, And major props to her for singing my favorite Cy Coleman song, “You Fascinate Me So. ” While it’s an not good as my beloved Peggy Lee’s version, it does justice to the song. And she is versatile as well, bringing a melancholic country twang to “Anything You Ask.” Sometimes the Blossom influence can be a bit uncanny (such as in “Tea For Two’) but any reservations about that can be overcomed by a touching “Over The Rainbow.” I man, anyone who can sing that and make me listen is primo in my book. if I were even anywhere near St. Paul’s Hotel right now, I’d be rushing to that lobby, but listening to this album is the next best thing.

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