How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Once a waitress at one of the altars of jazz, New York City's Village Vanguard, Marty Elkins has tossed the apron away and stepped onto the performing stage. Some may complain that this maiden album isn't very adventurous because, with a couple of exceptions, it sticks with oft heard standards. There should be such complaint. One measure of the worth of a vocalist is how she/he works with classic material as they try to put their special brand on it. I can't imagine living with just a handful of interpretations of "Stars Fell on Alabama", "When Your Lover Has Gone" and "You're Blasé". And Elkins does add her character to this music. Listen to "When Your Lover Has Gone" done with a light Latin beat as she sings over the "Sweets" Edison-like noodling trumpet of Herb Pomeroy and the clean stringed guitar of Greg Skaff. The muted trumpet of former Berklee School of Music faculty member Herb Pomeroy is conspicuous on "We'll Be Together Again". Houston Person is listed as a player, but his soulful tenor sax appears on very few cuts. One of his most notable contributions is on Elkins' own "Fuse Blues" where he trades choruses with Pomeroy as Elkins pays tribute to her electrician who "keeps her motor hummin'".
Elkins has a deep voice, with a dusky sensuous patina to it. A fine sense for the lyrics is reflected in her phasing and diction. She's fortunate to have top level players to help make her first album the success it is. In addition to those already mentioned, New York-based pianist Tardo Hammer creates a conducive setting for the Elkins' song styling. The rhythm section of Dennis Irwin and Mark Taylor is first class. Another welcome addition to the growing sorority of good distaff jazz vocalists, Elkins'Fuse Bluesis recommended.
Track Listing: Day In, Day Out; Stars Fell on Alabama; Medley: Moonray/No Moon at All; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; As Long as I Live; When Your Lover Has Gone; We'll Be Together Again; Fuse Blues; There's No you; Born to Be Blue; Soon; Never, Never Land; You're Blas
Personnel: Marty Elkins - Vocals; Herb Pomeroy - Trumpet; Houston Person - Tenor Saxophone; Tardo Hammer - Piano; Greg Skaff - Guitar; Dennis Irwin - Bass; Mark Taylor - Drums