Diana Perez: It's Happenin' (2008)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Harlem-born vocalist Diana Perez offers her talents as a storyteller with this, her third CD, a collection of well-chosen standards and jazz classics that show off fine vocal abilities. Backing her up is David Hazeltine (piano), Steve Davis (trombone), Ron Horton (trumpet), Jed Levy (tenor sax, flute), Nat Reeves (bass) and Joe Farnsworth (drums), Hazeltine also responsible for several of the arrangements.
Perez possesses a rich, full-bodied voice with capable intonation and shading and a gift for phrasing. At times, her diction wavers and she tends to leave out the little connective words. On "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning," she makes a mistake in the lyric twice which throws off the rhyme scheme.
Her material includes (among other standards) this year's very much recorded "Nature Boy" done with a Latin feel and "Blame It On My Youth"; both are done simply with attention to the stories. There is also "Detour Ahead," a song famously featured as an instrumental on Bill Evans' Recorded Live at the Village Vanguard album, but seldom done with the lyrics. Perez is very much at ease with two vocalese-type songs: "Farmer's Market" and "Milestones" (with lyrics by Annie Ross on the former and Giacomo Gates on the latter).
Although this CD is a studio recording, there is a feel akin to a live performance. There is a great deal of instrumental presence and particularly notable is Levy's flute work on "Detour Ahead" and Horton's fiery trumpet on "Milestones." For the liner notes, Perez has made comments on her choices of material and her feelings about the songs. This CD is a tasteful package both vocally and instrumentally and insures future storytelling by the vocalist.
Track Listing: Will You Still Be There; Blame It On My Youth; Corcovado; In The Wee Small Hours; Farmers Market; Detour Ahead; Milestones; Nature Boy; Perdido.
Personnel: Diana Perez: vocals; David Hazeltine: piano; Joe Farnsworth: drums; Nat Reeves: bass; Steve Davis: trombone; Ron Horton: trumpet; Jed Levy: tenor sax, flute.
Record Label: Zoho Music