Vocalist Margie Notte has an embarrassment of artistic riches. Among those riches are guts, chutzpah, moxie, or balls, if you will. Her debut recording is a live recording.
Foregoing the safety of the studio, where a musician can digitally correct any burp, hiccup, and musical sneeze, Notte puts it all out there in front of an empathic quartet. Her confidence is further demonstrated by Notte's choice of a well-known repertoire, providing an entire library of performances with which to compare her own.
Notte begins her standards survey with a sizzling "Too Close for Comfort," where she vamps the coda with a burlesque flair. The band is displayed early, with pianist Jason Teborek and tenor saxophonist Don Braden turning in sharp solos. Notte demonstrates her way with a ballad on "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," complimented by Braden's fine flute.
The group throws a curve with a gently swinging "Cry Me A River," a song generally presented as a plaintive ballad, given momentum by Cecil Brooks' quietly insistent ride cymbal. "Just You, Just Me" and "I'm Thru with Love" provide the swinging center of the performance before Notte quietly croons "You Go To My Head," over a light Latin treatment.
From this point on, Notte recital is a nod to Sinatra with an upbeat version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," I've Got You Under My Skin," and "The Very Thought of You." Her rendition of "Loverman" is a sophisticated blues with a sensual push. Sometimes a standards recital should be just that: a tribute to the composers through a well-sung vocalist, and that is what Just You, Just Me and Friends: Live at Cecil's delivers.
Personnel: Margie Notte: vocals; Don Braden: tenor saxophone and flute; Jason
Teborek: piano; Tom DiCarlo: bass; Cecil Brooks III: drums.