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Skylark

4.6 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Nine days after her seventeenth birthday, singing sensation Renee Olstead and her stunning bluesy jazz voice take flight with her second major-label album, Skylark. Backed by esteemed producer/arranger David Foster (Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Celine Dion) on strings, piano, horns and often keyboards, Olstead stamps her mark on standards and modern classics and premieres four originals she co-wrote, including one with Foster. Following her 2004 #1 Jazz self-titled album, Olstead soars on Skylark.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise Records
  • ASIN: B000FS9MV0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,185 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for this CD for 2 years now. I actually met Renee at a dance club back in Nov. 2006, and she said the CD would be released in Jan. 07, but that they wanted to get it right before release. Well, she definitely got it right.

Her voice sounds more mature now, and as always, so wonderful to listen to. She has a style all her own, and so beautiful. And as a swing dancer, there's plenty to dance to on this CD as well. I've always loved Anita O'Day's "Thanks For the Boogie Ride," but Renee does her own take on the classic, and really shines.

My only wish is that "Through the Fire" would have been on the CD. But then it would have probably been delayed even more. If you love Renee, you've gotta have this CD.
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I just have to say that this album was one of the best I have heard in a very long time. It's simply stunning that this is an eighteen year old that is okay with singing songs of substance rather than be wearing tight, sleazy clothes and singing about sex and boys like her counterparts. I am a 25 year old who used to love the pop scene (Paris Hilton, Girlicious, etc.) but have found solace in other genre's like classical, jazz, and thanks to this album, will now be listening to more swing. I caught her self titled album as well and was captivated by the range and emotion in her voice at such a young age. This album and the previous will be on repeat on my MP3 player and I cannot wait for a third album. Talent like this must never stop because this is all we have left in an otherwise talentless society nowadays. Just a note to Renee: No matter who criticizes you never sell out; continue to release great remakes and originals and set the tone for others. You don't have to catch up to them, they have to discover you!
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Format: Audio CD
....aren't supposed to sing this repertoire this well. Well...there's Jane Monheit, but, great as Jane is, Renee is the new head of the list. (Diana Krall is a pretty white girl, but not young; Madeleine Peyroux is young and white). This record took too long to make, but I forgive whoever slowed it up...it is FABULOUS. Yes, I like gorgeous redheads, but that's irrelevant with singing this good.....

As to specifics...13 tracks...4 original compositions, of which I liked "Midnight in Austin, Texas" the best...9 old standards, that every girl and her sister has done before (some more than others, naturally). Well...it's like hearing them for the first time. "Stars Fell on Alabama"..."When I Fall in Love"..."Ain't We Got Fun"...Renee makes them her own. With Jazz, that's OK...in fact, it's the idea. (If Anna Netrebko did that in "Lucia", it would be a different matter). The Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer standard "Skylark", the title cut, has been done over and over, but NEVER better (the late Eileen Farrell did it for Reference Recordings ~20 years ago, but she was of an entirely different order of magnitude). Ray Charles recorded "Hit The Road Jack" at least 45 years ago; it's written for a man, but Renee did fine, and was smart enough not to mess with the lyrics.

If you get the idea that I believe this to be a REALLY special album, you're right. In a couple of tracks, including "Stars Fell...", the sound mimicked a 1930s broadcast...that's OK, it wasn't overdone. I do see the earlier reviewer's caveat about the engineering; my sub-woofer got a work-out. That aside, this is one of the greatest Jazz albums I've ever heard. (Yes, Diana, I still love you). The little girl from her self-titled recording is growing up very nicely. Don't fail to grab this....ten stars, at least.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
'Skylark' is remarkable! Renee Olstead has a voice that is Sophisticated, Sexy and Beautiful! I can't stop playing 'Skylark'. Every song on this album belongs here and my favorites are; 'Hold Me Now', 'Skylark' and 'You've Changed'! This album is classy & fun and Renee makes every song a joy to listen to! Truly Beautiful! (Skylark and Renee Olstead)
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Renee is just one big HIT with me during the whole kicking sound on this album SKYLARK!
You will enjoy all the fun and catchy tunes with her voice filling your ears!
This album is my FAVORITE of all her others!
Renee is like a good friend who you want to be around all the time to brighten your day!
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This is an amazing CD, especially for one so young. The arrangements are entertaining, the backing musicians are great, and her voice is beautiful.
Her version of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" is not the equal of Nina Simone's, but it is really good. The same is true for Ray Charles' "Hit the Road,
Jack" and Anita O'Day's "Thanks for the Boogie Ride." I can't recall a more enjoyable version of "Ain't We Got Fun."
The CD is a nice balance of upbeat numbers and slower songs. Her own compositions are much, much better than I anticipated. The two midnight
songs and "Nothing but the Blame" are terrific additions to the set of classics.
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As of this posting, there were 81 other reviews of this album, some of which were obviously very knowledgeable about jazz and jazz artists... While most only sung Renee's praises, some mentioned an untrained voice that "makes my ears bleed"... Well, to those I say, as Count Basie said, "If it sounds good, it IS good." ...

I for one will not disparage this talented young singer because her music is not perfection to the trained musical ear... I'll just say that for me, Count Basie had it right... Renee Olstead's voice is as easy on the ears as her appearance is on the eyes; this assortment of new tunes (4) and jazz standards (9) is as refreshing an offering of music as a rose in the desert...

I sincerely hope this effort also foretells the entry of more youth into REAL music, instead of the rap and hip-hop garbage that gives REAL meaning to "makes my ears bleed"...

If you love music, all genres of music, you'll most likely want to add this mesmerizing and hypnotic, sultry and sensuous young voice to your collection... You won't be able to listen to it just once!
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