Carolyn Nelson: Come a Little Closer (2010)

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Carolyn Nelson: Come a Little Closer
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, bassist Steve Varner and drummer Erik Johnson, with guests including guitarist Paul Bollenback
Paul Bollenback
Paul Bollenback
b.1959
guitar
and percussionist Doc Gibbs. Bollenback displays considerable jazz chops, having previously recorded and performed with the likes of guitarist Charlie Byrd
Charlie Byrd
Charlie Byrd
1925 - 1999
guitar
and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine
Stanley Turrentine
Stanley Turrentine
1934 - 2000
sax, tenor
; percussionist Gibbs' resume includes sessions with bassist Charles Fambrough
Charles Fambrough
Charles Fambrough
1950 - 2011
bass
, pianist Bob James
Bob James
Bob James
b.1939
piano
and singer Erykah Badu.

Nelson brings it with jazz chops, too. She bravely calls her first tune, "I Don't Know Enough About You," from the Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
1920 - 2002
vocalist
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
Rosemary Clooney
Rosemary Clooney
1928 - 2002
vocalist
.

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
Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
b.1921
vocalist
' lyrics to the samba "O Pato (The Duck)," about waterfowl learning to dance, sound even more fun. Nelson's triumphant romp through Hendricks' vocal arrangement for Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
' "Four," in tandem with vocalists Paul Jost
Paul Jost
Paul Jost

vocalist
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.

Record Label: Self Produced


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