Ejazz News Performance Review

Edward Blanco, Ejazz News
Full Review...Click Here
Possessing soothing sultry vocals, Kastel leads the orchestra on more 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 of Tom Howard’s arrangement of “Strangers In The Night,” quite beautiful! The lady and the band provide a rousing rendition of Bobby Darin’s “Beyond The Sea,” complete with the assistance of seven background singers. Kastel belts out the familiar Wayne Newton standard “Danke Schoen,” with nice orchestrations from the band.

Sound Advice Review

Rob Lester, Sound Advice
Las Vegas-based entertainer Sandy Kastel has come up with an album inspired by entertainers who have performed in the showrooms there. But don't assume this is all razzle dazzle super-charged, overly busy arrangements or some kind of cheese factory. The album opens promisingly with Sandy sailing through a splashy big band bustling "Come Back to Me" from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. 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.

Improvijazzation Nation Review

Dick Metcalf,  Improvijazzation Nation #79
Sandy Kastel - THIS TIME AROUND:
If you're in the mood for high-end,big-jazz orchestrals, led by a female vocalist who is a total natural - this is your ticket, volkz!  Pretty much standards, but Sandy's vocal (and life)energies overcome any tendency to "hit" her on that... "Cry Me A River",track 2, best exemplifies her vocal skills, & will wrap you in from thefirst bar.  "Fever", the next cut, demonstrates how deftly she can apply her own style - she (most assuredly) makes the tune her "own".  Parts of the CD(like the Sinatra medley) will make you feel like you're in the audience ofsome huge Vegas hotel show; not that that's a "bad thing", but there's no doubt, after listening through her album a couple of times, that Ms.Kastel's strengths clearly lie in breathing her own unique talents into jazz standards that can always use a new interpretation.  Very pleasant listening, & a very high "verve quotient" earn this musical experience a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us.

Cashbox Magazine Review

Justin Scro, Cashbox Magazine
Sandy is without a doubt a great performer and on stage is on par with the best that Las Vegas has to offer. This CD is her tribute to the glorious entertainers who have defined the legend of her hometown. Her soft kitten like voice purrs to the tunes in a similar style to 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. For all of you that are smitten with the great standards of many decades ago you will not be dissatisfied with this fifteen track CD. The big band sounds to the quiet piano bars with the girl lounging on the top of the full sized grand piano and a sax are all right here. You might even feel like you have stumbled into a little out of the way bar somewhere off the strip and somehow were transported back in time.

Jazzscene Review

Kyle O'Brien, Jazzscene
A tight big band blasting away, and when Kastel’s brassy, voice came in, it was on key and had a personality. Smart big band arrangements. Kastel will probably be a hit in Vegas showrooms.

Music For America CD Review

MusicForAmerica.org Run Off Groove Section: CD Review - Sandy Kastel 'This Time Around'

Sandy Kastel has been singing jazz for years in her hometown of Las Vegas. Her bright smile and happy attitude on the booklet photos ("legs for days, ooh la la!") might make some feel that it's just your typical, flashy, poopsy, telethon jazz that only old people want to hear. The truth of the matter is, Las Vegas has always been an escape for jazz musicians not only to relax, but to perhaps play in front of and with their peers in the same way jambands will start picking up the guitar and play without fear. There is an energy to that city that never sleeps, and that style of jazz has often rubbed off on singers, musicians, conductors, and arrangers for years. It might come as a surprise that This Time Around (Silk & Satin), her debut album, was mainly recorded in Nashville, a music town in its own right.

Away from what Las Vegas may mean to outsiders, what you do hear are songs performed by artists that moved her to become a singer, so you hear her do powerful renditions of "Fever", "Cry Me A River", "Viva Las Vegas", and "My Funny Valentine". What I generally don't like about jazz singers is when they get too flashy and show off, I understand it adds some dramatics but I've always felt it was corny. Kastel does not too any of that, but she does know how to make the song her own, as she puts her all into each word and line and makes it alive again. It's also nice to hear songs that have aged well over the years, grown-up songs, from a grown woman who can share her passion for music and singing with ease. She has the kind of voice that would be capable of performing in any style, and who knows, she may branch off into something new next year. But if it's jazz and pop standards that you love, you'll never want to stop playing this.

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