Jackie Ryan is another of those fine singers who enliven the San Francisco jazz scene these days. Although the Bay City is her home base, she has performed in jazz venues throughout the world including one of the most famous, Ronnie Scott's London jazz club.
Jim Merod's BluePort label - - a label very active in giving musicians from this area an opportunity to be heard on CD - - catches Ryan in a live performance at the Lime Leaf in La Jolla CA. Ryan possesses an earthy voice brimming with passion and excitement. She and veteran pianist and accompanist, Mike Wofford, go at it on this session working together on each tune like a pair of eager lovers. The members of Wofford's trio, Rob Thorsen on bass and Duncan Moore at the drums are much more than uninterested spectators. They swing and burn pushing Ryan and Wofford to attain greater heights, musical of course. The fortuitous merging of zest and talent comes together on a rousing version of "Comes Love", which opens with Ryan's voice weaving in and out of Thorsen's bass and continues with gusto as everyone joins in the musical melee. But the intensity is not limited to up tempo romps. Ryan, with her deep voice, can be sultry and sensuous like on a romantically contrived "For Heaven's Sake", a tune made popular way back when by Fran Warren with the Claude Thornhill Orch. This is one of many gems on the play list of standards and lesser known classics. As is the wont of most contemporary singers, especially those of the female persuasion, the agenda includes tunes built around Brazilian rhythms. This album has four such cuts sung in Portugese and in English. "What a Difference a Day Made (Cuando Vuelva Tu Lado)" and Jobim's "Someone to Light up My Life" are the best of this bunch.
Encouraged by an appreciative and enthusiastic live audience, Ryan and the Wofford Trio go above and beyond the call of duty with a masterful performance that is guaranteed to maintain the attention of jazz vocal devotees. This is Ryan's debut live album and given the excellent outcome, one hopes more will be forthcoming. Go buy this one, you'll like it.
Personnel: Jackie Ryan - Vocals; Mike Wofford - Piano; Rob Thorsen - Bass; Duncan Moore - Drums