“Following a couple of steamy forays into Django-esque gypsy jazz (Gypsy in My Soul, Stockholm Sweetnin’ ), vocal treasure Connie Evingson turns to the smart, sophisticated, witty, and frisky songs of St. Paul native Dave Frishberg on her terrific eighth album, Little Did I Dream (Minnehaha Music). As has come to be expected from Evingson, she wraps herself in Frishberg’s songs, using her sly, sinuous phrasing and wondrous tone to make them bloom, whether it’s a wistful ballad like ‘Heart’s Desire’, a breezy trip to ‘Zanzibar’, a swinging goof like ‘Can’t Take You Nowhere’, or the hipster-ish sizzle of ‘Peel Me a Grape’ “.
— Rick Mason, City Pages
On her eighth CD for Minnehaha Music, Twin Cities-based
vocalist Connie Evingson performs the songs of jazz great Dave
Frishberg. With her usual flair for delving deep into a songbook,
Evingson vividly inhabits all of the humor, hipster smarts and
romanticism that earned Frishberg the title ASCAP Jazz Living
Legend in June 2007.
The 14 tracks on Little Did I Dream include the beatnik cool “Peel Me
a Grape”, the swinging “Zoot Walks In”, the playful “My Attorney
Bernie”, and the wistful “Our Love Rolls On”, showcasing Frishberg’s
breadth as a composer and Evingsonís spot-on interpretive skills. Not
only does Little Did I Dream possess Frishberg’s imprimatur, the
legendary jazz man plays piano on every track.
Prior to releasing Little Did I Dream, Evingson spent four years
focused primarily on the Hot Club-style jazz made famous by Django
Reinhardt. Her 2004 CD Gypsy in My Soul hit #8 on the radio charts
in the US and Canada, and she followed it up in 2006 with Stockholm
Sweetniní, featuring The Hot Club of Sweden. Evingson toured
extensively with her Hot Club projects, performing in California,
Seattle, Finland, Sweden, Japan and other far- flung locales, and
rarely appearing in her home state of Minnesota. With Little Did I
Dream, Evingson takes on material closer to home with the songs of
St. Paul native Dave Frishberg.
Little Did I Dream is a true homecoming for Frishberg. After attending
the University of Minnesota and serving in the Air Force, he left St.
Paul to be part of the 1960s jazz scene in New York City. His talents
as a pianist landed him choice gigs with luminaries including Al Cohn,
Zoot Sims, Ben Webster and Gene Krupa. The many notable singers
who have called on Frishbergís accompaniment include Carmen
McRae and Anita OíDay. As a writer, Frishberg’s songs have been
performed or recorded by Blossom Dearie, Mel Torme, Rosemary
Clooney, Diana Krall, Bette Midler, Tony Bennett and many others.
Over the course of this incredible career, Frishberg moved on to Los
Angeles (1971) and then his current home, Portland, Oregon (1986).
Although he has returned to the Twin Cities for performances and
visits, Little Did I Dream is the first major recording project that
Frishberg has undertaken in his hometown. In addition to piano,
Frishberg contributes a vocal duet with Evingson on Snowbound.
Evingson first met Frishberg when she interviewed him for a radio
show that she hosted, and Frishberg knew of Connie from hearing
her music on a Portland station. Saxophonist Dave Karr, a friend of
Frishberg’s since their college days in the 1950s, has worked with
Evingson for years. Frishberg gladly accepted the offer to record with
the talented singer and his old college pal.
In selecting the songs, Evingson wanted to touch on the full spectrum
of Frishberg’s styles, from his familiar sardonic wit (Can’t Take You
Nowhere) to the more poignant title track. “It was also important to
me to pick songs written entirely by Dave as well as his collaborations
with peers like Johnny Mandel (You Are There) and Alan Broadbent”.
Connie Evingson – vocals
Dave Frishberg – piano, vocals
Dave Karr – saxophone, flute
Gordy Johnson – bass
Phil Hey – drums
Mark Henderson – saxophone
“I had a great time coming home to the Twin Cities to do this recording. Connie is very musical, and she handled my songs with the utmost sensitivity. It was a treat to work with her and the other musicians. Dave Karr, whom I first met and played with in 1952 at the University of Minnesota, remains one of my favorite musicians and one of my favorite people.”
– Dave Frishberg
“Connie’s latest CD project brought me together with my old friend Dave Frishberg, who is one of America’s greatest songwriters and also one of the all time great jazz pianists. I have worked with Connie for many years and she is a terrific jazz vocalist. Like all true jazz musicians Connie first and foremost knows how to swing and to paraphrase a Frishberg lyric ” She’s got a tone all her own”. Her technical proficiency enables her to be expressive and give performances that are crafted at the highest level. Working on her CD was creatively challenging, swinging and lots of musical fun. ( Connie is also very kind to old saxophone players).” – Dave Karr
“I’ve been in love with Dave Frishberg’s work forever. Little did I dream that one day I’d get to record an entire album of his songs with him at the piano! Watching Frishberg and saxophonist Dave Karr work together, longtime friends from college who clearly admire each other, was really a delight and an inspiration”. – Connie Evingson