Beata Pater's vocal expertise is about shape, texture and the nuance informing both. Pater's B&B Records color-inspired trilogy, Black
(2011) and Red
(2013) was a critically well-received series that demonstrated the singers mastery of wordless singing in a large band format, pushing the creative envelope to the edge of its capacity. Pater's self-claimed influences include Ella Fitzgerald
, Sarah Vaughan
and Shirley Horn
. But the spirit of Betty Carter
permeates this disc in the durable elasticity that supports Pater's adventurous voice.
How Pater sings is a high-wire method. She constantly takes artistic chances with her phrasing, always meeting triumph and thus evolutionary progress. Pater's subjects are well off the beaten path, providing perfect vehicles for her carefully wrought creative journeys. Poet Maya Angelou's moody "Turned to Blue" displays Pater's arsenal of slurs, sways and glissandos all existing in harmony with the exceptional pianism of Hiromu Aoki
, whose understated approach rests on the same rarefied plane as that of Pater. Pater's vocals are delicate and cinematic on Oscar Castro-Neves
' "I Live to Love You" and creamy roux-rich on Gordon Jenkins
' "This is All I Ask."
Aoki's informed piano bears discussion in his facility to use very simple rhythmic constructs to direct a song's dramatic content. On the disc opener, "Wild is the Wind," fashions his support around two sudden chord voicings forming a mantra giving Pater an entire sonic neighborhood to walk around in. On the closing "A Little Tear," Aoki and bassist Buca Necak
establish a more complex repeating figure that propels Pater's most forthright singing, lyrically and non- lyrically. Pater's instrumental support is perfection. This is a fine vocal disc indeed, much in the same pioneering mode as Lisa Sokolov's fine Presence
(Self Produced, 1004) and stands as its natural evolution.