What can be said about an album when you love the lead but find the rest uninteresting? That’s the rare dilemma faced when hearing Whitney James’ The Nature of Love, her debut on Stir Stick Music.
It’s not that the band disappoints. The vocalist is accompanied by a talented supporting cast of Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and flugelhorn, Joshua Wolff on piano, Matt Clohesy on bass and Jon Wikan on drums and percussion. For their part, the musicians do their jobs admirably and, at times, superbly.
So what’s the problem? Maybe it’s the set selection. Nine standards from the “American Songbook,” most of which have been covered and covered again, so that anything short of an off-the-beaten path presentation will leave one searching for something positive to say. Maybe it’s the arrangements. They’re all pretty straightforward, leaving James and her accompaniment to win listeners with the delicate balance of individual voice and coloring within the lines.