How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This, Vanessa Rubin's second album for Telarc, is one of her best. The play list is varied and the arrangements allow plenty of room to strut her personality and versatility. There's a "that's all folks" scat coda on "Comes Love". "Matchmaker" is a swinging waltz with Eric Alexander's Coltrane influenced sax delving in and around the melody line. She dubs herself in as a backup vocalist on a having some fun "Sex Is a Misdemeanor (the More You Miss De Meaner You Get)" done with just Lewis Nash's drums helping out. Etta Jones guests with Rubin on a couple of tracks. Her Esther Phillips like nasal quality is put to good use on a "But Not for Me" which also features the tenor of Javon Jackson and the special piano of Cedar Walton. The two go to town on the blues classic, "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You" ending with some jiving girl talk with each other. Jones also did a guest stint on Jeannie Bryson's latest release, Deja Blue. A premier track is the lovely lilting "Whatever Happens", a Vanessa Williams favorite. Rubin caresses a ballad as well as anyone in the business.
Rubin doesn't set the world on fire with this album, nor does it appear that her intention. Rather the album is a platform for Rubin's straight forward jazz singing where she recognizes that lyrics she can also be concerned with lyrics to earn the sobriquet "jazz singer." The voice doesn't always have to be just an instrument. Rubin's vocalizing meshes well with the instruments with words delivered with intelligent emotion. Telarc has surrounded her with top level support with the sidemen on this set befitting for a singing personage of Rubin's stature. It's a no brainer to highly recommend Girl Talk. Visit Rubin's Internet home at www.vanessarubin.com.
Track Listing: Comes Love; Matchmaker, Matchmaker; Whatever happens; But Not for Me*; One for My Baby (and One More for the Road); You'll Never Know (Until You Let Go); Loving You; Girl Talk; Sex Is a Misdemeanor (the More You Miss Da Meaner You Get); Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You*; Won't Have to Say Goodbye; If You Ever Go Away
Personnel: Vanessa Rubin, Etta Jones* - Vocals; Eric Alexander, Javon Jackson - Tenor Saxophone; Steve Davis - Trombone; Lewis Nash - Drums; Cedar Walton, Larry Willis - Piano; David Williams - Bass