Stevie Holland
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Stevie Holland


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"Ejazz news"

To the next level and beyond this siren of swing has taken her newest gift to the jazz world? After a success debut, some artists bequeath fans with mediocrity staying in a comfort zone however this vocalist never visits the same real estate twice as she accelerates her expertise to a new dimension in this uplifting 2006 release. Stevie Holland is genuine talent… More Than Words Can Say is a wonderful piece of entertainment which offers standards and originals all with such range and pure sentiment delivered in a distinctive style.
The presence of her tones is one thing but the disc tenders an impressive band resonance as well. Her stage consists of fine artists whom compliment her range and their diverse nature allow for the arrangements and melodies to marry with ease. A tender moment in jazz vocalization! Case in point, swelter in the mood of Gary Friedman's "Lovingly" as it's translated by Holland for it electrifies the nerves and stimulates the memories…
Released in May of this year by 150 Music More Than Words Can Say has all the makings of a highly talked about effort. Her confidence with swing just jumps out at you through this disk spin. This alone exhibits a true sense of focused direction on route to a sultry cool!
Holland simply is polished and fine tuned ready for numerous spins with every effort undertaken.
The title cut "More Than Words Can Say" lyrically divine by the creative pen of Ms Holland with Friedman's sculpted notes aligns this to be a hot yet sensitive relationship for the jazz listener. The words are simple, I will grant you but tied to the emotion and impact musically, this cut drives those loves of the past memories into overdrive!
Ms. Holland has arrived once more never to look back on the tails of two very nice efforts, this 2006 piece is just what the jazz world expects and as is delivered…accolades to its existence! - By Karl Stober

"All About Jazz (2 Reviews)"

We are enjoying an embarrassment of riches in the area of female jazz vocals. There's a lot of wheat out there, and some chaff. Here's some of the whole grain.
Stevie Holland's previous recording, Restless Willow, demonstrated Holland's confident grace and the delicacy of her voice. On More Than Words Can Say, Holland pulls out the stops and blows the carbon from her pipes…with strings. She torches the place with the Ram/Rand standard "Only You." Building through the first chorus, Holland, propelled by piano, organ, and tenor, allows her voice to spread to all its edges, increasing both the temperature and the humidity.
Rather than turn the acetylene down, Holland breaks the knob off on high and propels Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays," igniting pianist Martin Bejerano to deliver an incendiary solo. Then she pulls back, cushioned by strings, in her delivery of the ballad "If Ever I Would Leave You," nudging Bejerano back into plaintive piano thoughtfulness.
Holland proves as capable with contemporary material as standards. She dispatches Kenny Loggins/Michael McDonald's "This is It" readily, leaving just enough pop to jettison the disc into the adult contemporary market, where it would be welcomed. The Holland/Neil Wolfe original, "Firefly" floats above Hans Glawischnig's vehicular waltzing bass line. Holland further proves the capable lyricist on the shiny seasonal "Evening Song" (music composed by Gary William Friedman). Stevie Holland is beginning to come into her own. It should be our good fortune as listeners to witness.
-- C. Michael Bailey

Words are not sufficient to describe the bright spirit that comes from Stevie Holland’s latest release. You’ve got to hear her to understand the many qualities that make up this winning performance. She combines a highly accurate vocal presentation with deeply felt expression and comes up with the best of both worlds. While communication is her forte, Holland also ensures that we’re treated to a musical performance of the highest caliber.
The album begins with “Only You,” which features saxophonist Ole Mathisen on soprano and alto. Holland's soulful love ballad opens the session with glad feelings all around. Like a faithful celebration in church on a Sunday morning, her interpretation affects the audience deeply. “Yesterdays” provides a leisurely samba romp that places Holland and her piano trio in a hardy groove. Strings give “Lovingly” a romantic texture. Most of the program, taking its cue from the title track, emphasizes the art of romance.
Jimmy McHugh’s “’Murder,’ He Says” features guitarist Sean Harkness in a swinging affair that puts on glad feelings all around. “Day by Day” features an exotic interpretation by the piano trio. Holland could convince a die-hard pessimist that tomorrow holds sweet fortune for all of us.
Her interpretation of “Desafinado” comes with a special surprise. As you may recall, this Jobim song compares love to music, and sometimes it sounds slightly out of tune. As she sings “We used to harmonize, two souls in perfect time,” everything clicks musically for a lovely, fitting texture. A few moments later, as she sings “And so, what good’s a heart that’s slightly out of tune,” we’re treated to the creative gestures of a true professional—Holland sings the phrase slightly out of tune. Stevie Holland's song stylist combination of endearing passion and straightforward musicianship makes More Than Words Can Say a true winner.
--Jim Santella - C. Michael Bailey and Jim Santella


July 2006
A colorful career of cabaret and theater leads Stevie to jazz. More Than Words Can Say is a solid, swinging, soulful collection of songs offering a diverse variety. Ms. Holland's latest release was arranged and orchestrated by award winning composer Gary William Friedman. This 12-song collection delves into classic jazz standards from the 1950's and 1970's, sprinkled with original compositions all handled with innovation and confidence. Strings enhance the artist's effortless vocals. A stylish, expressive singer; you might hear essences of Diana Krall and Marilyn Scott. We're buying what she's selling here with her creative and powerful attack on hits like "Only You," the iconic 50's smash and the opening track on MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY. Stevie lays it down in a big way capturing the "Wow Factor." I enjoy this project. It commandingly meanders through the floral memories of the past including the show stopping, "If Ever I Would Leave You," never would I have imagined a jazz-fringed arrangement of this one, but it's stunning. The Hot Pick is Stevie's stellar version of Kenny Loggin's "This Is It." The minute I heard it I thought to myself that it was curious that no one else considered covering this one...'Til now. Stevie does it great justice and owns it. Contemporary, cool and classic. Truly, more than words can say, but I did my best to describe this unique and jazzy collection of songs and I hope enough to inspire you to listen for yourself. - Sandy Shore


June 2006
Vocalist Stevie Holland sings a set loaded with nostalgic hits on More Than Words Can Say. Opening with the smash hit "Only You" made famous in the '50s, Holland's beautiful voice immediately captures your attention with her soprano range that is accompanied by the exotic riffs of Ole Mathisen's saxophone and the arrangement and orchestration by Gary William Friedman. With a four octave range that is as exciting as it is soothing, Holland showcases this song in a whole new light that completely removes any doubts about her abilities. She tones things down on "Yesterdays" and reaches for new heights with an up-tempo change that truly sets this song apart from previous renditions. The piano solo by Martin Bejerano is memorable and he livens up the song with his impeccable jazz stylings. Further into the set is a delightful arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim's chestnut "Desafinado." Holland's alto range on this bossa nova is ever so gentle, and the guitar accompaniment from Sean Harkness brings the song to another level. Overall, Stevie Holland offers her fans delightful new renditions of some of your old favorites as well as a great way to spend a romantic evening or just kick back in the sun and sand. Go for it! - Paula Edelstein

"AAJ-LA/San Francisco-Bay Area/Chicago Print Edition"

June 2006
Stevie Holland sure can sing! Blessed with a full and attractive voice, Holland throws her all into each song and puts out an engaging and irresistible display of musical emotions on the charming More Than Words Can Say. Backed by a diplomatic mixture of jazz musicians and strings, Holland sings, prowls and soars through Gary William Friedman's cleverly arranged charts on the likes of "Only You" and "Day By Day". This is not a rehashing of oldies, but a breathing of new life into dry bones that rekindle the melodies and lyrics. Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays" lays down a hard driving beat that Holland just tears through with her crystalline voice, which impressively has the precision of a diamond cutter. She delivers quite well on her own compositions as well. The lonely "Evening Song", with dreamy piano and sax work by Martin Bejerano and Ole Mathisen respectively, is mature and thought provoking. Likewise, Holland's voice is poignant on the moody and string-laden "Lovingly". Throughout More Than Words Can Say, well known songs are respectfully redressed, and intertwined originals feel right in place. Here's a lady who is singing with feeling. I just would like to know when's she coming to town? - George Harris


May 2006
The first track on this disc is the old chestnut, "Only You." Halfway through, I took the disc out of the computer and ran upstairs to the living room. I wanted to hear this on the good speakers. The Big speakers. I wanted to be able to turn it up loud…I have never heard a voice this powerful with this much range and - well, on the ballads, Ms. Holland's voice is sensitive and downright sweet. The combo is not simply backing her - she's an integral part of the total package..."Only You" is a fine opener for this set. "'Murder,' He says" is a question of timing, and Ms. Holland delivers. And the original "More Than Words Can Say" is simply outstanding…I'm fumbling a bit, because "more than words can say" is a perfect way to describe Ms. Holland's voice.
You must hear this. Very highly recommended. - Doug Boynton

"Jazz Times Magazine"

September 2006
You must have muscular chops to do what Stevie Holland attempts. You need a feel for jazz phrasing and, above all, you should be firmly rooted in theater. Holland has it all and succeeds beautifully. The willowy blonde also writes impressive lyrics (check “Firefly”), but few singers can boast the conception provided by producer-arranger-conductor Gary William Friedman. Take Kenny Loggins’ “This Is It.” It begins simply with guitar. By the time the bass enters, it begins to build logically. Add the dramatic know-how of Holland’s voice and you have a complete theatrical experience. They do it with the Schwartz-Dietz classic “By Myself” and Lerner-Loewe’s “If Ever I Would Leave You.” (Being a lyricist, Holland knows how to bring out an internal rhyme like “springtime and spring, I’m.”) Her cabaret instincts take a noxious novelty like “‘Murder, He Says’” and make every dumb word understandable. “Day by Day” swings confidently, with pianist Martin Bejerano descending at the end while Holland soars in the other direction. She feels right at home with the bossa phrasing of “Desafinado,” and her whole range of jazz dynamics emerges from Kern’s “Yesterdays.” - By Harvey Siders


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