Shades of Blue
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Tolucan Times By M. Valentine Jimmy Spencer, vocalist and entertainer, has just released a new CD 'Shades of Blue.' It is a compilation of something old, something new, some ballads, some jazz, some blues, and songs of love and loneliness. They are rhythms of reflection and reason ... truly superb! Spencer, with his deep velvet voice, is truly a balladeer extraordinaire. On his new CD he is warm and vibrant in his delivery. He gives his listeners lush romantic ballads with a sophisticated lyric to a down-to-earth lament of the blues. His warm romantic- style and deep masculine gentle-ness ignite each song with imagi-nation. The musicians spoke a statement of excellence that really was effective and compelling. A rare combination of souls and soul! Spencer started his career in Oklahoma, just out of the navy by forming his own band and enter-ing into a long-term contract with the owner of the Cotton Club in Oklahoma City. Harold Austin, leader of a traveling band, per-suaded Spencer to give up his band, leave Oklahoma City, and travel with his group as the featured vocalist. After a year with Harold Austin and his group, Spencer moved to California; joined a group called the Multi-Sounds and worked the Playboy circuit for one year as a member of this group, before deciding to become a single. He was influenced by the late great Nat King Cole and developed a smooth relaxed style. Even the great Tony Bennett was amazed at Spencer's style and performance, while catching his act at Monteleone's West. From there Spencer's travels took him all over the United States and Canada, performing with some of the top jazz greats, such as Phineas Newborn Jr., Senator Eugene J. Wright, Harry 'Sweats' Edison, Dolo Coker Trio, Joe Parnello, pianist and conductor for Frank Sinatra, to name a few. Currently he is work-ing with 'The Karen Hernandez Trio.' On 'Shades of Blue,' Spencer works with Hernandez, his long time friend and accompanist. She performs keyboard on all tracks, did all arrangements as well as composer (lyrics and music) on two of the titles. Also featured are the talents of Lou Shoch, electric bass, and Jack LeCompte, drums. Joining Spencer and the trio on this exciting new work are two world renowned musicians, John Heard, acoustic bass and Ray Armando, percussion. 'Shades of Blue' is a CD to reckon with. It's great jazz and blues at their finest. You will not be disappointed! Wednesday, August 10, 2005 TOLUCAN TIMES CANYON CRIER - 'NITE LIGHTS' Pg. 25 By Pat Taylor Musical Notes... Jimmy Spencer's CD release party at Charlie 0's in Valley Glen had the joint jumping. The place was jammed to the walls with fans and friends, and the energy was electric! We were there to soak in the velvet voice and endless dap-per charm of this much loved crooner and celebrate the release of his latest CD called 'Shades of Blue.' I'd never been to this cool nightclub before but will certainly return (good food and jazz every night - no cover charge). Spencer was beautifully backed up by jazz notables Karen Hernandez (piano), Jack LeCompte (drums) and Lou Shoch (bass). With a smooth and sensually deep voice reminiscent of Nat King Cole, Spencer passionately proved 'He's Still Got What It Takes.' LA. JAZZ SCENE - September 2005 issue BOB'S BEAT By Bob Comden JIMMY SPENCER'S CD RELEASE PARTY AT CHARLIE O'S Vocalist, actor, musician Jimmy Spencer celebrated the release of his brand new CD at Charlie O's in August. It's a hot new CD titled Shades of Blue, which captures Jimmy at his best in a variety of musical settings, singing many classic standards and several originals written by pianist Karen Hernandez. When I first heard the CD I was very impressed with it and I can recommend it highly. The CD features Jimmy's regular trio. Of Hernandez on keyboards, Lou Shoch on fretless electric bass and drummer Jack LeCompte. Guest artists are percussionist Ray Armando and John Heard on acoustic bass, on several tracks. At Charlie O's, Jimmy's regular trio backed him and did a great job all evening. The place was packed with many of Jimmy's fans, friends and fellow musicians. There was a lot of energy in the room. Jimmy has been a friend for a long time and I have been a big fan of his singing. He has traveled all over the world and has almost performed at every jazz venue in the L.A. area. He now sings regularly at Mr. B's in Burbank every Thursday night and regularly at the Smoke House in Toluca Lake. His main influence has been Nat King Cole, but Jimmy definitely has his own voice. He sings with a lot of conviction and soul and sure knows how to tell a story. At Charlie O's, singer, pianist, actor comedian Tony Russell acted as MC and introduced Jimmy. There were so many sit-in guests throughout the evening it was hard to keep track of who played on which tunes, but the main focus was on Jimmy and his trio. The backing trio was in exceptional form all evening and many great solos were heard from them. Jimmy is always a very sharp dresser and presents himself in a very professional manner. The trio did a Bobby Timmons tune, 'This Here,' then Russell sang a pretty 'Angel Eyes.' Jimmy came on and tore it up with a lively version of 'Like Someone In Love,' with great support from the trio. Hernandez was in top form and Jimmy sang with a nice, swinging feel that captivated the audience. The very responsive audience loved it. 'At Last' was sung with a lot of soul as Jimmy poured his heart into the tune. 'All of Me' was done at a lively, swinging tempo and everyone got a chance to shine. 'Please Send Me Someone To Love' was done in a bluesy, gospel-like style, and Hernandez was just outstanding on her solo. The crowd whooped with joy. 'Secret Love' was done at an easy tempo and sung beautifully by Jimmy. 'Riverside Drive' was written many years ago by Hernandez and was included on the new CD. It started slowly but then went into a fast samba. Jimmy sang it with a lot of gusto. What a great composition! LeCompte really got down with his exciting drumming. Some other classics that Jimmy sang were 'Route 66,' a beautiful 'Lush Life,' 'Am I Blue,' and 'It Might As Well be Spring,' to name a few. It was a great evening of jazz and I want to wish Jimmy a lot of success with his new CD. The CD is on Night Spen Productions and was engineered and produced by Bob Tucker and Jane Getz, with Jimmy Spencer and Marilyn Ziegler as Co-executive producers. All the arrangements were done by Karen Hernandez. The CD captures Jimmy Spencer at his best.