Unlock My Heart by Dick Hyman and Heather Masse

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Heather Masse and Dick Hyman were born 55 years apart, yet they have joined their talents to release the album, Lock My Heart.

Hyman began his career before World War II. His first claim to fame came after his release from the U.S. Army when he served as the pianist for Benny Goodman’s orchestra. Since then he has worked as an arranger, composer, producer, and an artist who has been involved with well over 100 albums as a solo artist, with his own band, and as a guest.

Masse studied jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music and is now a part of the Canadian folk trio, The Wailin’ Jennys. She first came into contact with Hyman on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion when they performed “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good.”

They wisely kept the album simple. It is just Hyman’s piano and Masse’s voice. Except for two original compositions by Masse, all of the material is taken from the Great American Songbook, which they interpret in a light jazz format.

Hyman has been a pianist for most of his life. He may not be as limber as he was several decades ago but he is more than adequate on these tunes. He is still able to interpret the music and provide a good foundation for Masse’s vocals. He has the experience to give the music a personal feel but wise enough to not interfere with the vocals. Masse has a voice that fits these light jazz classics well. Songs such as Rogers & Hart’s “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” and George Gershwin’s “Love Is Here to Stay” are simple and subtle renditions of these well-known classics. They also take Buddy Johnson’s 1940s blues ballad “Since I Fell for You” and move it over to a jazz translation.

Masse wrote two original songs for the album. The beautiful love song “If I Called You” and “Morning Drinker” fit in well with the rest of the tracks.

A chance meeting in a studio has led to a relaxed and very good album. So put some wood on the fire, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and give this release a listen.

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