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CD REVIEW: Sony Holland - "On A San Francisco High"
By Gian F - 11/24/2003 - 09:17 PM EST

Artist: Sony Holland
Album: "On A San Francisco High"
CD Review: Genre: Jazz Vocals
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 10
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: In Marin, To Better Days, My Man And I, The Trouble Is, Chestnut Street, The Liberal Ladies Of San Mateo, On A San Francisco High
Weakness: ?
CD Review: I received this package from Jerry Holland accompanied by a note that simply said, "Hi Gian. This is commercial jazz. I write em, and my wife sings em. We hope you like it..."

Like it? I absolutely loved it!

Jerry, who wears the hat of the master chef on this project, composed all of the songs and lyrics. His recipe for a gourmet musical meal was simple: he incorporated the talents of experienced cooks who took pride in the outcome. Dennis Burnside, piano and arrangements; Pat Burgeson, guitar; Jim Hoke, wind instruments; Harry Wilkinson, drums; and engineers Branden Harkin & Erik Wolf. They added their heart and soul to a delectable recipe and made it even more delicious, but it's Sony Holland's vocal performances that are the perfect desert and complement to the perfect meal.

She shines with her engaging and effortless display of vocal agility on "Somewhere Near St. Louis," and "To Better Days," showcasing a rare combination of personality, power, and technical precision while simultaneously putting on a clinic in how to vocally interpret a lyric. How else could you sing the lyric on the project's best song, "In Marin...the grape is a vitamin" without having interpretive skills? Her velvety voice defies boundaries. You get the sense that she could sing any genre, but on this project you're glad she's singing jazz, commercial jazz at that.

This project has broad appeal and it is an absolute gift for jazz vocal enthusiasts who are seeking and appreciative of originals in a genre that thrives on covers. If you only buy one independent CD this year, this should be it. "On A San Francisco High" is deservedly the best CD I've reviewed in 2003.

Advice: The song "On A San Francisco High," has a lot of marketing potential. It's witty, clever, and catchy. I would look into licensing possibilities through advertising agencies that produce spots for tourism. Keep doing what you're doing.

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