How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Carolyn Nelson has one of those voices that might lead you to think you've heard her sing before. And you might have: although Come A Little Closer is her solo debut, Nelson has performed throughout the US and Canada plus two tours of Spain (she can sing in five languages), has appeared on the daytime TV drama One Life To Live and in front of a big band at the Rainbow Room in NYC, plus too many background vocal sessions and commercials to recount.
Nelson draws bedrock support from pianist Steve Rudolph
songbook (co-written with David Barbour, Lee's guitarist husband) and impeccably sings it undeterred by Lee's imposing legacy. Next, she pulls the dark shadows out from Cole Porter's brilliant "It's All Right With Me," flattening some notes, stretching out others, to make it sound sad and blue. Nelson just sings this so well: she toys with the phrase "it's all right" like a kitten's ball of yarn, and then leaves it hanging unresolved, the opening for Rudolph's piano solo to enter. Later, she polishes Porter's peppy "Just One of Those Things" with all the brightness of Rosemary Clooney
In the rollicking "Hyde Side Blues," Bollenback and Rudolph roll out the blues carpet for Nelson's plea toward a gentleman who insists on behaving just a little too gentlemanly! Her rhythmically playful delivery and Brazilian percussion make Jon Hendricks
and Wendy Simon, provides her tour-de-force for Come a Little Closer.
If a bubbling mountain spring, so crystal brilliant that it nearly blinds you, spoke in a human voice, it would probably sound much like Carolyn Nelson's. Crisp and pure, and refreshingly beautiful.
Track Listing: I Don't Know Enough About You; It's All Right With Me; Just One of Those Things; O Pato (The Duck); I Didn't Know About You; Dans Ses Yeux (In His Eyes); The Gypsy in My Soul; Too Close for Comfort; Two for the Road; Hyde Side Blues; Four; Nobody's Heart.
Personnel: Carolyn Nelson: vocals; Steve Rudolph: piano; Steve Varner: bass; Erik Johnson: drums; Paul Bollenback: guitar; Roger Prieto: trumpet, flugelhorn; Doc Gibbs: percussion; Wendy Simon: vocals; Paul Jost: vocals.