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December 17, 2005

Canadian Jazz Vocal CD Review

Written by
cindy mcleod

CD Review / Jazz Vocal
Barbara Blair/September in the Rain
BBP Music / 2005

Vocalist Barbara Blair gently delivers the jazz message in a relaxed mainstream combo setting with her latest CD release September in the Rain. This inviting collection of eleven classics from The Great American Songbooks features the understated songstress backed by her smooth guitar trio.

Blair’s voice is as clear and honest as it gets, her warmth dominates her masterly control. Pure and of simple elegance, there’s a velvety texture in her timbre, the richness folding into her phrasing and shaping the melody into luxurious lyricism. The trio, formed of Brian Nova (guitar/vocal), Joey Smith (bass/guitar), and Greg Williamson (drums), is well worth the listen. This sound is all too rare, with Nova’s polished guitar forming the cornerstone of a sensitive, supportive trio and impeccable vocal rhythm section. Bassist Buddy Catlett contributes two of the tracks, seamlessly adding another shade to the musical palette.

Throughout Blair pays careful attention to the lyric and melody, placing each note thoughtfully and deliberately. This creates loads of space for the harmony to linger, beautifully suspended by the tasty rhythm section. Swing is the operative word here, with Blair’s phrasing tempting the musicians on My Romance and I Didn’t Know What Time It Was. How About You? features a playful vocal duet with guitarist Nova, who also contributes a standout solo on the up-tempo version of It Could Happen to You. The Latin There Will Never Be Another Youis highlighted by Blair’s musical scat solo and the crisp drumming of Greg Williamson. Blair’s musicianship is clearly evident on You Go To My Head, a sublime blues ballad that is compelling and tender.

Melodic, fluid, and consistent, Barbara Blair’s September in the Rain offers serenity in a chaotic world.

for more information visit www.jazzaffair.com

Reviewed by:

Cindy McLeod

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