Erin Bode's frail, delicate vocal delivery gives her a quality that just wants to grow on you. She's got a friendly manner, and her song selection comes from what we've grown accustomed to over the years. Cyndi Lauper, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and older heroes of the Great American Songbook provide examples of her eclectic taste. It's popular stuff that we welcome all the time. However, Bode's limited vocal range and shallow breath support, while emphasizing her fragile demeanor, serve to restrain the emotional content of her performance.
The lightweight appearance of her vocal delivery give Bode a warm quality that works well on ballads such as "Time After Time" or "You," where folk singing and pop music combine to create lovely melodies and smooth harmony that lingers and remains pleasant to the ear long after the song is over. They're memorable. A piece that contains dramatic aspects, however, such as Bill Monroe's "In the Pines," requires natural force. Heartfelt passion is sorely missed during much of this program.
"Junior and Julie," a quaint jazz selection by Matt Dennis, provides opportunities for a singer to croon and swoon. It's one of those nightclub ballads that should be worn on one's sleeve late at night or in the wee hours. Here, the interpretation fails because a harder-hitting emphasis is needed. The same expectation comes from "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You," where a little hip swinging and head swaggering is called for. Instead, the performance turns this one around, with a coy smile and a shy grin.
Better are songs such as Cy Coleman's "I Walk a Little Faster," where the mood swings gaily from side to side, with whispers becoming appropriate for the lyrical message under consideration. "Count Your Blessings" also wears very well, with creative accompaniment from Bruce Barth, Larry Grenadier and Steve Nelson. Under Bode's control, the Irving Berlin chestnut lies still and personal like evening prayers, and settles in for a restful evening. Bode represents a new face on the scene. Her appeal lies in the way she relates to her audience as the quiet girl next door.
Personnel: Erin Bode- vocals; Adam Maness- piano; Bruce Barth- piano, electric piano;
Larry Grenadier- bass; Montez Coleman- drums; Adam Rogers- acoustic
guitar; Steve Nelson- vibraphone; Meg Okura- violin; Sydney Rodway- tenor
saxophone on "Don't Take Your Time"; Jerry Barnes- background vocals on
"Time After Time."