Alex Pangman, after undergoing a successful double lung transplant to overcome cystic fibrosis, invites us into this playful, nuanced and cheerful romp. Impressive arrangements and originals make you feel like you’re in a roaring Prohibition-era speakeasy.
This album features 87-year-old Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar. Pizzarelli shines with rhythmically impressive comping. The addition of violin on several of the tracks perfectly complements Pangman’s dramatic and bubbly style.
Pangman has a magnificent choice of standards from the American Songbook; she breathes new life into classics such as “Out of Nowhere.” There are even forgotten gems such as “Shanghai Lil,” which becomes an opportunity for Pangman to show her sultry side in addition to accompaniment from an ever-compelling brass section made up of her band the Alleycats. Although a talented songwriter, Pangman only manages to squeeze four of her originals onto this record, which is rather disappointing, even though each is more interesting and entertaining than the next.
The title of this album pretty much sums up my experience—except I didn’t just have a little fun, I had a blast. A nearly 90-year-old guitarist and a singer who has overcome a fatal illness provide a rollicking good time, which makes me think that this album is full of miracles.
– Charley Raiff