The debut album from Adi Braun, a talented young singer from Toronto, is, for the most part, Delishious.
In fact, one of the few missteps was placing Shirley Eikhard’s “Crazy with the Heat” first, ahead of such gems as the Gershwin brothers’ amusing title song, Cy Coleman / Carolyn Leigh’s delightful “When in Rome” or one of the other standards by Kurt Weill, Vincent Youmans, Harold Arlen, Ned Washington or Antonio Carlos Jobim (Braun is especially alluring on “The Girl from Ipanema”).
Braun has a lovely voice, strong and sure with excellent range, clear enunciation, sharp timing and she sings on-key too. Her lyric interpretations are quite good, even though she’s no Billie Holiday (“Lover Man”), Sarah Vaughan (“The Nearness of You”) or Julie London (“Cry Me a River”). The finale, “Mr. Sandman,” the same tune made popular, I believe, by the Chordettes (it’s been a while), rocks along nicely behind strapping support from the rhythm section and the last in a series of invigorating solos by pianist and co-producer Doug Riley. If I were a singer living in Canada and wanted the best back-up crew there was, I think I’d go looking for bassist Steve Wallace and drummer Terry Clarke. Anyone who has starred with Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass doesn’t need much more on his resumé.
Braun puts them to the test immediately on “Crazy,” which swings vigorously but even with a touch of overdubbing hasn’t much else to recommend it (aside from brief but ripping solos by Riley and guitarist Tony Quarrington). Braun recovers nicely on “Delishious,” whose clever lyric is utterly charming (although why Braun didn’t change the word “girl“ to “guy,” as it would have fit perfectly and made more sense, remains a mystery).
Braun is solid the rest of the way except perhaps for Weill’s “Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed” (wrong tempo; a bit too rushed and breathless). She also sings well on Quincy Jones / Lionel Richie / Rod Temperton’s “Miss Cecilie’s Blues,” Youmans’ “More Than You Know” and Arlen’s “That Old Black Magic.”
In sum, an enjoyable coming-out party that bodes well for Ms. Braun’s future.
Contact: LMC Media, 260 Hillsdale Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M4S 1T6, Canada. Phone 416-486-6742; fax 416-486-8022; e-mail email@example.com, or Adi Braun, 8 Graham Gardens, Toronto, Ontario M6C 1G7, Canada. Phone 416-651-8116; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www.adibraun.com
Track Listing: Crazy from the Heat; Delishious; Lover Man; Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed; Miss Celie
Personnel: Adi Braun, vocals; Doug Riley, piano; Tony Quarrington (1, 5, 11), guitar; Steve Wallace, bass; Terry