I Happened To Hear 01/2013

If you read my review of Sharon’s first full-length CD, you’ll know I’m already a fan. I love her phrasing and the clarity of her delivery. Both virtues are evident on this album of jazz standards. The musical setting is simple: acoustic bass, drums, piano and trumpet – and they don’t all play on every song. That’s how stripped-down this is.

So – there is lots of room for Sharon’s very warm tone to work its magic on these lovely songs. I’m hooked from the first number “Don’t Go To Strangers” – the pace is right, the jazz trio sounds elegant and it’s all good. I love the Joe Sample-style bounce in the deceptively bluesy “Evening” and the gentle cha-cha rhythm of Duke Ellington’s “Midnight Sun” – a song which I’ve never heard before but instantly fell for. The minor chords in this song are gorgeous.

The evergreen “If Ever I Would Leave You” is a tear-jerker. I appreciate the breathiness of Sharon’s vocal and her perfect vibrato. Maybe I watch too many TV shows with singers who exaggerate the vibrato – and pretty much everything else. That’s not what happens here. The Razaf/Redman classic “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” gets a lovely treatment here and it’s as much a homage to previous singers of this song such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday as it is to the writers. The muted trumpet solo adds just the right bluesy flavour.

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