You Must Believe In Spring
Review by Willard Manus

It’s always a pleasure to discover a new jazz singer, especially if the singer happens to be a woman. A case in point being Sue Anne Gershenzon, who has just released her first album, YOU MUST BELIEVE IN SPRING.

Gershenzon has come to jazz late in her career, most of which was spent in musical theatre, appearing in works by Stephen Sondheim, Sheldon Harrick and Jerry Bock. She has also worked in TV, commercials and films, and starred in her own cabaret show. And she is a voice teacher and “an ordained energy healer.”

Gershenzon has sweet, warm, ethereal voice which is well-suited to such jazz standards as “I Thought About You” and “You Must Believe in Spring” (a song which offers hope in the midst of this depressing pandemic). She excels on several other ballads, especially the Beatles’ “The Fool on the Hill” and the tender “A Child is Born.” Her snappy, uptempo versions of “‘Deed I Do” and “Straighten Up and Fly Right” provide a welcome change of pace.

My favorite cut was “Good Morning Heartache,” the classic tune made famous by Billie Holiday. Gershenzon makes the song hers, thanks to her bluesy, deeply-felt interpretation which is aided greatly by Ryan Keberle’s trombone work.

The other worthy musicians on YOU MUST BELIEVE IN SPRING are Glafkos Kontemeniotis (piano/arrangements); Joel Frahm (tenor); Sean Smith (bass); Dave Meade (drums); Brandon Vazquez (trumpet); Bashiri Johnson (percussion); Megan Gould (violin); Karen Waltuch (viola); and Noah Heffeld (cello).

Gershenzon’s recording debut is an impressive one. She has put together a generous package of musical goodies that will please the palate of just about everyone who samples them.