Susie Meissner

I Wish I Knew

Label: Lydian Jazz Records, LLC
Release Date: July 17th, 2020


Susie Meissner | vocals
John Shaddy | piano
Lee Smith | bass
Byron Landham | drums
Paul Meyers | guitar
Larry McKenna | saxophone
John Swana | trumpet
Ken Peplowski | clarinet

“For her fourth jazz vocal date in a decade, Meissner embraces her adopted city of Philly as her own ground zero and let’s fly with local luminaries while bringing in some first call ringers, as she’s always done, to make it a well rounded session that you need to keep coming back to. Hitting the classic songbook for the song stack, she has a proper feel for the material neither overdoing it or hamstringing the tunes along the way. A solid fast ball right down the middle for any serious jazz vocal fan.”
Midwest Record

“One of the top singers on the jazz scene today, Susie Meissner (who is based in Philadelphia) certainly deserves to be much better known. She has a beautiful instrument, sometimes recalling Barbra Streisand at her warmest when she holds long notes on ballads although she is a lot hipper in her phrasing. She also swings at all tempos and clearly loves the music that she performs.

I Wish I Knew is a superior showcase for Susie Meissner’s singing talents. She is joined by pianist John Shaddy, guitarist Paul Meyers, bassist Lee Smith, and drummer Byron Landham on most of the selections with guest appearances by clarinetist Ken Peplowski, tenor-saxophonist Larry McKenna, and John Swana on trumpet and EVI. The set begins with a “Killer Joe” vamp on an infectiously swinging rendition of “The Great City.” During “I Wish I Knew” (which co-stars Peplowski), “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” (featuring a mellow trumpet chorus by Swana) and “You Go To My Head” (during which Swana takes an atmospheric spot on his EVI), Ms. Meissner shows that she can confidently sing ballads at a pretty slow tempo without wavering or losing one’s interest.

Of the other highlights, a cooking “It Could Happen To You” features some delightful interplay between Peplowski and McKenna, “Alfie” has particularly heartfelt vocalizing, and “The Shadow Of Your Smile” is a quietly emotional duet by the singer with guitarist Meyers.

I Wish I Knew (which is available from is filled with enjoyable moments and is easily recommended.”
— Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene

“New Jersey is home to a lot of fine vocalists, and one of the best of them is SUSIE MEISSNER.  Just dig her new album, I Wish I Knew (Lydian Jazz), and you will understand that statement.  She combines a her smooth and appealing voice with great taste in material, impeccable phrasing full of jazz influences, and perceptive choices in deciding which musicians to support her.  This collection has 12 songs, all terrific, but none overdone.  The opener, “The Great City,” is probably the least familiar on the program, but it sets a nicely swinging base for what is to come, “I Wish I Knew,” “It Could Happen to You,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face,” “Poinciana,” “Alfie,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “The Shadow of Your Smile ,” “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” “In a Mellow Tone,” “You Go to My Head,” and a fitting closer, “The Party’s Over.” Mckenna, Peplowski, Swana and Shaddy all have ample solo space, and each is superb.  McKenna is among the most under-recorded great players on the scene, and just hearing him on “Alfie” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” as well as his exchanges with Peplowski on “It Could Happen to You,” are reason enough to add this album to your library.  (”
— Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz

“Susie Meissner sings with a clear and easy swing on this set of standards with a first class team of Ken Peplowski/cl, Larry McKenna/ts, John Swana/tp-fh-EVI, Paul Meyers/g, John Shaddy/p, Lee Smith/b and Byron Landham/dr. Meissner is excellent at expressing moods, sounding wonderfully regretful as she builds up to “You Go To My Head” and emotive on “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” her work with Meyers gets intimate on “The Shadow of Your Smile” and is heartfelt with Shaddy during  “Alfie”. Peps is glorious on clarinet on the gentle “I Wish I Knew” and Swana’s horn waltzes with Meissner on “Hello Young Lovers” and bounces to Landham’s drums with his EVI on the rich “Poinciana”. Classy.”
George Harris, JazzWeekly

…Susie’s fourth CD, I Wish I Knew (out July 17th, 2020, via Lydian Jazz Records) is the singer’s second release featuring a stellar group of Philly-based musicians: trumpeter John Swana, saxophonist Larry McKenna, bassist Lee Smith and drummer Byron Landham.

In addition, Meissner invited some longtime collaborators from outside Philadelphia: pianist/arranger John Shaddy, guitarist Paul Meyers and master clarinetist Ken Peplowski.

Opening with the robust, yet refined swing of ‘The Great City,’ itself an homage to New York by Curtis Lewis, for my money the album just gets better and better throughout its wondrous collection of 12 new recordings.

Obviously comfortable at any tempo, next up is the dulcet piano lullaby title track, ‘I Wish I Knew,’ which is backed seamlessly by the calmly collected ‘It Could Happen to You’ (Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke), the beautiful cut from the 1956 musical My Fair Lady, ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,’ and both the gentle hipsway of ‘Poinciana’ (Nat Simon with lyrics by Buddy Bernier), and a stunning seven minute rendition of the stirring Burt Bacharach and Hal David track ‘Alfie.’

From the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I, we then get a simply magnificent ‘Hello Young Lovers,’ ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’ (better known as the Love Theme from The Sandpiper), before another stand out cut, the timeless Cole Porter ballad ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ (which, once again, features McKenna on saxophone).

This quite purposely heartfelt, and emotively passionate album then rounds out with the Duke Ellington-composed ‘In a Mellow Time,’ the J. Fred Coots with lyrics by Haven Gillespie musical wonderment of ‘You Go to My Head,’ before finally coming to a triumphant close, and one highlighted by an enthralling bass solo by Smith, on ‘The Party’s Over’ (first introduced in the 1956 musical comedy Bells Are Ringing by Judy Holliday).
— Anne Carlini, Exclusive Magazine