Justin Time Records is proud to release vocalist Alex Pangman‘s new album, Have a Little Fun (available tomorrow, June 11). The album features legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, and is Pangman’s second release for the Canadian music label.
Have a Little Fun finds the young Toronto chanteuse on a baker’s dozen of swing era standards and originals penned in the same vintage style. Along with Pizzarelli, a seven-decade veteran who’s played with Les Paul, Benny Goodman, and Stephane Grappelli, Pangman is joined by her long-running band, The Alleycats.
Since her teens, Pangman has earned a devoted following in her native Canada, garnering three National Jazz Award nominations, twice as “Jazz Vocalist of the Year” and once for “Best Original Song,” and she has performed three showcases at the renowned Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.
The carefree attitude expressed in the title has been earned in part through Pangman’s lifelong struggle with lung disease, which culminated in a successful double lung transplant in 2008. “I was born with lung disease so I’ve always had that perspective,” she says in a recent news release, “but it’s been freshly reinvigorated. Life is precious, and if you sit around with your gut in a twist, it’s really not worth it.”
Have a Little Fun came together quickly, when Pangman learned that Pizzarelli would be performing in her hometown of Toronto. Despite a half-century’s difference in their ages, the two quickly bonded over their shared love of 1930s song. “He’s in his eighties and I’m in my thirties,” Pangman says, “but we quickly became friends because we both love these melodies and these songs. That lineage is what binds us together.”
Pangman has been christened “Canada’s Sweetheart of Swing,” a title threatened when her cystic fibrosis began to compromise her ability to sing. A donor was fortuitously located, and she came back from her double lung transplant with her 2011 disc 33.
Since the surgery, Pangman says, Have a Little Fun has taken hold as “my mantra in life. You can have a million smackers and a fancy car, but if you’re not having any fun, what’s the point? You’re not here forever, so try to enjoy yourself.”