How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Carla White's husky, swinging vocal style gets great backing and a justly enthusiastic audience at Denver's Vartan Jazz club on her fifth release, a performance of standards. Less deliberately arranged than her acclaimedListen Here, this set has a vitality that comes from the performers having a good night and giving it out.
White's voice reminds me of the rich velvet sound from the great 1930's tenor players, and she even shares Ben Webster's fondness for flat intonation. Her relaxed rhythmic feel, dynamic range down to the whisper, and sensitivity to the lyrics are perfect for her repertoire. She floats over the rhythm section on the fast and medium-tempo songs, while on such torch songs as "The End Of A Love Affair," her way with a lyric brings out all the emotion in the words. She scats on the fast tunes, including "Topsy," where she supplies lyrics, singing "Topsy is the feeling that I get when I scat."
The rhythm quartet works well together as a backup unit, but its members also get a generous amount of solo space, with fine solos from all. Altogether this recording exemplifies what jazz singing can be: various, inventive, personal, distinctive, intimate, with the musicians' rapport with each other and the audience captured with great fidelity.
Track Listing: Bloomdido, I Hear Music, Second Time Around, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, As Life Goes On, Topsy, The End Of A Love Affair, Medley (Who Said, But Not For Me), Killing Time, It Might As Well Be Spring, My Reverie, That's It
Personnel: Carla White, vocals; Mark Soskin, piano; Jerry Hahn, guitar; Harvie Swartz, bass; Joe LaBarbera, drums