San Francisco-area vocalist Barbara Adamson's approach to jazz is straightforward and straight-ahead. Her debut recording, Now Is the Time
, is a relaxed, confident effort that demonstrates the (too-often overlooked) value of restraint and moderation in jazz singing.
Relying on a clear, expressive voice and dramatic reading of lyrics, Adamson, backed by a fine trio (plus occasional sax, trumpet and flute), puts her personal stamp on a dozen nicely arranged standards. She's equally at ease on ballads and up-tempo numbers, and proves herself a capable scatter on a worldless romp through Miles Davis' "Boplicity." And while we've all heard the likes of "April in Paris," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "You Go to My Head," and "Softly in a Morning Sunrise," many times before, Adamson, makes this familiar journey a worthwhile one. A promising debut from a singer who knows that, more often than not, less is more.
Barbara Adamson, vocals; Marshall Otwell, piano; Stan Poplin, bass; Steve Robertson; drums; Fred Berry, trumpet; Paul Contos, flute; Donny McCaslin, tenor sax.