Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



1998 Music
Ages: 2 & Up
Performed By: Hayes Greenfield
CD Price: $15.98
Tape Price: $10.98
Nursery rhymes and traditional children's songs get the jazz treatment from some top-line artists, saxophonist and arranger Hayes Greenfield, vocalists gravel-voiced folk/pop artist Richie Havens, Miles Griffith and Lisa Michel, David Berkman on piano, Jay Anderson on bass and several others. A group of young children add their enthusiastic, if not always musical voices to the mix, too. This is no lullaby album, by the way, although it has some quiet moments, most notably the lovely "Fiddle De-Dee" with Lisa Michel's floating, sweet voice, and "Sur Le Pont D'Avignon" with Michel and Charenee Wade. The number one highlight, "Oh, Susanna" is a perfect marriage of Havens' signature, hoarse vocals and Greenfield's softly melancholy sax. The mood is otherwise very lively indeed.

Although “Animal Fair,” is undone by a gooey, too-precious vocal—Michel again, in an unfortunate departure from her natural high soprano--the playful music is a blast. So too, are a raucous scat version of “Skip to My Lou” sung by Griffith, for instance, and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad," with its martial percussion and audacious brass accompaniment.

Lynne Heffley   ©1998 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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