Solstice/Summer

Diana Panton

Independent release, 2017

http://www.dianapanton.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/19/2018

Canada's Diana Panton returns with a themed album that draws parallels between the four seasons and the cycles of love and life. Relayed through intimate and emotive songwriting, this disc finds Panton in esteemed company that includes Canadian National Jazz Award winner Reg Schwager, as well as three Order of Canada Honourees (Guido Basso, Phil Dwyer, and Don Thompson).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“They Say It's Spring” starts off with Panton's sweet, soft vocals and even softer instrumentation; it’s not unlike a warm, soothing spring day with a calm horn solo in the middle. “The Heather On The Hill” follows  and is a bit gentler, with a quaint piano melody before the slightly more forceful yet just as elegant “Up Jumped Spring,” where Panton's remarkable voice is on display in a more playful fashion. “That Sunday, That Summer” brings us towards a jazz lounge piano tune, before the first guitar-focused song: the calm strumming of “Estate,” which really should soundtrack every romantic dinner.

The middle of the album continues the sophistication, with the plucking bass of “Manhattan,” the solemn keys of “La Fin Des Vacances” (one of two tunes not sung in English), and the fun, almost quirky vibraphone of “September In The Rain.” Panton's jazz tendencies are in full bloom on “Tis Autumn,” which is just a saxophone and Panton's gorgeous pipes.

The last few tunes get a touch more rich, especially with the muffled trumpets of “Cloudy Morning,” which also return on the languid “Cloudy Morning.” The album highlight “I Like Snow” falls near the end and is so upbeat and lush that it could soundtrack any day where the sun shines bright and the sky is so blue you'd want to dive into it.

Panton is a two-time Juno winner, and listening to this eighth album, it's easy to see why. Although your local record store might file this under 'Jazz', that might be doing Panton as disservice as her art is nothing short of timeless, universally enjoyable emotion.

Rating: A-

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