BVS Review

Sandy 's Classic Tunes

Bruce Von Stiers

With a sax player for a dad who has played with such greats as Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini and Ann Margaret, it seems natural for music to run in Sandy Kastel's veins. But as talented as your lineage is, you have to be able to prove yourself to the masses. And Sandy Kastel has indeed proved herself. This former Miss Nevada and Miss America Talent Contest winner has been burning up stages in both Las Vegas and the Nashville area.

Now the nation is exposed to this wondrous talent. Sandy is sponsoring a NHRA race car driver, David Rumpy. Sandy has performed at several of the venues where Rumpy has raced. They are making stops at various Children's Miracle Network hospitals along the current race circuit route.

But that isn't the only exposure to Sandy . She has recorded and released an album of delicious show tunes. Grabbing songs that classic performers like Sinatra, Wayne Newton and Bobby Darin made popular, Sandy puts forth an album that is sure to delight any fan of classic crooner tunes. The title for the album is This Time Around. It was released on Sandy 's Silk & Satin Records label.

This Time Around has fifteen songs and lasts over an hour. The album was produced by Dan Posthuma, with Sandy and Harold Stout acting as Executive Producers.

Two of the songs on the album were recorded in Las Vegas . The rest were recorded at Dark Horse Studios and Sound Kitchen in Franklin , Tennessee and Blackbird Studios in Nashville .

The songs recorded in Las Vegas featured Bob Rozario on piano and Bob Sachs on bass. Sandy 's father, Dick Kastel, was the featured sax player of the Las Vegas recordings. For the other recordings, there are a lot of talented musicians as well. Pat Coilis on piano. He played on a Cheri Keaggy album I just finished reviewing. Mark Baldwin is on guitar. Bob Mater and John Hammond share the drummer duties and Eliot Torres and Eric Darken share the percussion duties. Craig E. Nelson is on upright and electric bass. Nelson teaches bass at Vanderbilt University 's Blair School of Music

There are four sax players on the album besides Sandy 's dad. They are Mark Douthit, Doug Moffett, Jim Hoke and Denis SaleeLee Levine is on clarinet, while Ann Richards plays flute and Bill Woodworth is on the oboe. As for the brass section, people like Jeff Bailey and Prentiss Hobbs provide some of the trumpet and trombone music. Among other trumpets and trombones, there are two French horns thrown into the mix. As the album contains a few orchestral background music songs, there is a strings section. This string section includes seven violinists, six viola performers, three cellists and a harpist. There is one lone bass player listed in the strings section.

And while I have made a long listing of Sandy 's supporting players, let's not forget the background singers. These singers include Mark IveyTravis CottrellStephanie Hall, Bonnie Keen and Melody Kirkpatrick. There is also Melodie Tunney andTerry White on backing vocals.

The first song is a rousing rendition of Alan Jay Lerner's Come Back To Me.

Next up is a jazzy, upbeat version of Cry Me A River. This has some great jazz combo music backing Sandy , with some snazzy piano.

I have always liked the song Fever. Sandy gives the song more of a melodic sound than the normal sultry tone that most vocalists do. Once again the band gives a stellar performance backing Sandy 's vocals.

Soft and subtle, When I Fall In Love is a beautiful song made even better by Sandy 's smooth vocals. That is followed by a nice gentle medley called Love Medley which includes Everybody Love Somebody, The Way We Were and My Man.

I can't hear the song Misty without thinking about something that Ray Stevens was quoted as saying. He supposedly told an audience that a woman came up to him after he had made a splash with this song. She asked him to “play Misty for me.” For those of you who don't know what that means, it refers to a film called Play Misty For Me which starred Clint Eastwood as a DJ. Jessica Walker plays an obsessed fan and psychotic fan. This is a psycho thriller that predates Fatal Attraction by more than a decade. Anyway, Sandy gives a stellar performance of this great song.

Sandy then gives the listener a fantastic treat with a trio of songs that Frank Sinatra made popular. These songs are called the Sinatra Medley. The songs are All Of Me, I've Got You Under My Skin and Just One Of Those Things.

An interesting song on the album is Viva Las Vegas. The arrangement brings a semi jazz lilt to this classic Elvis tune. As Sandy is a prominent Las Vegas performer, this seems to be a good fit for the album.

Another great song is Sandy 's version of Beyond The Sea.

Later in the album, Sandy does a good job of tackling the Sinatra classic Luck Be A Lady.

Other good songs on the album are Strangers In The Night and Don't Rain On My Parade.

Sandy 's dad has some great sax on her nice rendition of My Funny Valentine.

Many male vocalists attempt Wayne Newton's Danke Schoen. But rarely have I heard a female vocalist sing it. Sandy has her own version on this album. It is a nice, easy rendition of the song.

Sandy ends the album with a terrific rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

If you like the music of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Judy Garland and other classic crooners then you are sure to love this album. Sandy Kastel is a wonderfully talented vocalist whose style is definitely rooted in the past.

You can pick up a copy of This Time Around at CD Baby or iTunes.

Part of the proceeds from the album goes to the Children's Miracle Network. Grab a copy of the album for this reason if nothing else.

Rambles.net Review Of 'This Time Around'

I've got to admit I was not looking forward to listening to this CD when I looked at the list of songs. Most have been interpreted many, many times. Does the world need another version of "Misty" or "Over the Rainbow"?

But there are some great arrangements here. Nothing radically different, as Sandy Kastel is a Vegas-styled entertainer ("Viva Las Vegas" is included here). But on many of the 15 tracks she is backed by a big band, something you don't hear much anymore.

Ten brass horns, eight woodwinds and a number of strings add a lot of power. It reminds you of some of the great Sinatra sessions, and Kastel does a medley of songs associated with him, as well as "Strangers in the Night."

Kastel has the power and range to front a large unit, and she seems to enjoy herself. She can handle songs like "Don't Rain on My Parade" that need to be belted with perfect elocution, and more intimate ones like "My Funny Valentine," where she is only backed by a trio.

These are swinging songs done with flair, worth visiting one more time around.

Karl Stober, Jazzreview

Vegas classics are back and on the stage with the new jazz vocalist Sandy Kastel and her 2007 release of powerful and energetic selections.  This high-octane siren releases the aura of what Vegas entertainment was and still is. Kastel has all the characteristic and signs of a star-class entertainer with an attitude only she can deliver. The spin has the familiarity of the classic Vegas cuts with the panache of a noticeable interrelation between then and now.

This hometown girl reveals her passionate love affair for the city with each performance. The cuts are not just covers but more than that! Each spin adorns that Kastel “Feel” which offers a new perspective for the audience to embrace. For Kastel her style is an emotional one. Deep within her lies the heartbeat of entertaining, the skill of the show if you will… Ms. Kastel has something yet to be properly defined, just ride the journey with her.

Ms. Kastel’s vocal interpretation of Johnny Burke and Erroll Garner's “Misty” is stunning, pouring her sultry passion into this truly poignant ballad. Her vocal delivery and timing are right on target as she brings a new attitude to this performance. Try this on the right evening and the right results will drape the moonlit moment for any listener!  The same can be said for her performance of “My Funny Valentine” which just captures that memory of years gone by.  “This Time Around.” is pure neon entertainment, which I would bet finds a slot in your collection.

Sandy Kastel Reviews

Sandy Kastel Album Reviews:
This Time Around, Only In Las Vegas, Indiana Rain

“Sandy is without a doubt a great performer and on stage is on par with the best that Las Vegas has to offer. Her soft kitten like voice purrs to the tunes in a similar style of the late Marilyn Monroe, but she can crank up the torch power and belt it out like the power house singers of that bygone era when all of these songs were great."
-Justin Scro, Cashbox Magazine

"This high-octane siren releases the aura of what Vegas entertainment was and still is. Kastel has all the characteristic and signs of a star-class entertainer with an attitude only she can deliver. This hometown girl reveals her passionate love affair for the city with each performance."
-Karl Stober, Jazzreview

"Possessing soothing sultry vocals, Kastel leads the orchestra on musical explorations with a Frank Sinatra medley featuring bits of “All of Me,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “Just One of Those Things.” Sinatra would be proud.”
-Edward Blanco, Ejazz News

"Ms.Kastel's strengths clearly lie in breathing her own unique talents into jazz standards that can always use a new interpretation."
-Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

"Kastel knows how to make the song her own, as she puts her all into each word and line and makes it alive again."
-Music For America

"Sandy Kastel is a wonderfully talented vocalist whose style is definitely rooted in the past. Soft and subtle, When I Fall In Love is a beautiful song made even better by Sandy 's smooth vocals. On her album, This Time Around, Sandy gives a stellar performance and ends with a terrific rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow."
-Bruce Von Stiers, BVS Reviews

"Kastel's got a great voice and a great choice of songs to run through. When she's given a lighter backdrop, using her own pure vocals, in songs such as Misty and My Funny Valentine, she avoids making the whole become too heavy with unnecessary ideas and melodramatic phrasings. That's when Kastel really shines."
-AMG (All Music Review)

"Sandy Kastel offers up an album of standards which are a tribute to the music of old world Las Vegas. With her wonderful voice she belts out such tunes as "Fever", "Viva Las Vegas", "Luck Be a Lady" and many more. If you enjoy musical soundtracks as well as the classic standards, then this release is perfect for you."
-Mite, The Chicken Fish Speaks

"The Album, This Time Around opens with Sandy sailing through a splashy big band bustling "Come Back to Me." Sandy has a flexible and easy-on-the-ears voice. Cozy, well-phrased takes on "Misty" and "My Funny Valentine" are the highlights on the serious side."
-Rob Lester, Sound Advice

"Kastel has the power and range to front a large unit and she seems to enjoy herself. She can handle songs like Don't Rain on My Parade that need to be belted with perfect elocution and more intimate ones like My Funny Valentine, where she is only backed by a trio."
-Rambles.net

"Where was I all the other times? I surely missed out on great vocal skills and a fantastic combination of great musicians! What a great and varied cd, with a refreshing and fantastic arrangement of "Cry Me a River." Naming another one is "When I Fall in Love" Sandy has an amazing performance and style...fits in perfectly in Las Vegas and is such a lovely and great artist."
-Joost van Steen, Jazz & Blues Tour - The Netherlands

What Sandy Kastel sings in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas: It goes National!
Former Miss Nevada & Miss America Talent Winner Kastel breaks into the Top 40 on FMQB AC Radio Stations with her smoky rendition of the Bobby Darin classic "Beyond the Sea" and is surrounded by Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.

-SouthwestFlair.com

Click here to view all of Sandy's reviews in their entirety.

Jazz & Blues Tour Review

Joost van Steen, Host/producer Jazz & Blues Tour with ASFM105.4 in The Netherlands
Sandy…. This Time Around ??, Where was I all the other times ?? I surely missed out on great vocal skills and a fantastic combination of great musicians! What a great and varied CD, with a refreshing and fantastic arrangement of “Cry Me A River.” Naming another one is “When I Fall in Love” … be careful Sandy, that could easily happen for a lot of men…......Two tracks I want to point out; “Misty” and of course the Sinatra Medley which makes it very obvious that with your amazing performance and style you fit in perfectly in Las Vegas. I am jealous of fellow countryman Hans Klok because he was able to take a photo with you..The lucky devil….Let me name one more track from your great CD; Danke Schoen , and let me point that right back at you… Thank You for this Great CD, you are such a lovely and great artist.Wishing you lots of luck with any further productions!

Radio Achievements:
  • # 3 WTEB for the week of 3/10/08
  • # 3 WFNP for CMJ issue 1051
  • # 3 WMHB for CMJ issue 1051
  • # 6 WDPS for CMJ issue 1051
  • # 7 WUCF for the week of 3/10/08
  • # 8 @ KWLC for CMJ issue 1049
  • # 8 WUCF for the week of 3/24/08
  • # 9 WUCF for the week of 3/17/08
  • # 9 WAIH for CMJ issue 1050
  • # 9 WAIH for CMJ issue 1051
  • #10 KGLT for CMJ issue 1050
  • #10 WMHB for CMJ issue 1050
  • #10 WUFT for the Week of 03/31

Mite Review

Mite, The Chicken Fish Speaks
Sandy Kastel offers up an album of standards which are a tribute to the music of old world Las Vegas. With her wonderful voice she belts out such tunes as "Fever", "Viva Las Vegas", "Luck Be a Lady" and many more. If you are the type of person who enjoys musical soundtracks as well as the classic standards in the vein of Frank Sinatra, then this release which seems to combine the two is perfect for you.