also appears destined for success.
With her clear, rich voice, Ryan undoubtedly has one of jazz's great vocal instrumentsno low-note warble or reedy high notes for her and with a 3-1/2 octave range, she handles each song with aplomb. In addition, she has a sure sense of phrasing and an unerring accuracy for getting to the heart of a song. To say she always swings is an under-statement.
Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Ryan has played around the worldLondon, Japan, Amsterdam and made a memorable 2006 appearance in New York at the Lincoln Center. Along the way, she has been backed by some of the best, including Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, Barry Harris, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco and Red Holloway.
Her accompaniment here is led by peerless pianist Cyrus Chestnut, and includes a superb front line of tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and the great Brazilian guitarist, Romero Lubambo.
Ryan includes a collection of pop tunes, Latin American songs and under- appreciated jazz compositions. Everything stands out on about the CD, making it difficult to choose highlights, but here are a few: On the opening title track, her original vocalese interpretation brings to mind the great Annie Ross, with tasty solos delivered by Pelt, Alexander, and Chestnut. Ryan's ability to tell a story and the flexibility of her voice is displayed in "Do Something," as she ranges up and down the scales and in and out of the melody. Also, Chestnut's expertise as an accompanist is reaffirmed in his embellishments. Another favorite, "Speak Low"executed with a samba beatis a vivid example of how Ryan builds dramatic intensity.
Lubambo's guitar magic is conjured particularly well in Jobim's "Caminhos Cruzados." His infectious bossa nova rhythm frames Ryan's sensual rendering. Later, their duo on Augustin Lara's classic "Solamente Una Vez" is blissfully beautiful.
Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" finishes off the set, featuring just Ryan and Chestnut. Someone once said that "less is better." That maxim is proven with the stark beauty of this piece.