Patrice Williamson: Free to Dream (2002)
Boston singer , by way of Memphis, TN, Patrice Williamson has come out with her second release on her River Lily label. Given the critical acclaim her first release received, it's surprising and disappointing that it has taken three years for this one to get on the streets. But such are the vagaries and narrow vision of the recording industry. Unlike her first CD, My Shining Hour, she has included three of her own compositions. There's also a heavy reliance on South of the Border rhythms. Brimming with confidence in her musical artistry, this singer/flautist puts her special imprimatur on well known standards. Listen to an off center, way out version of "Puttin' on the Ritz" where her voice and flute ride on island-based rhythms. This is not the way Fred Astaire did it. It's got a mix of sass with a touch of regret that not everyone has the means to take in the Ritz. And it's "olé" we go with the Brazilian beat on "Alone Together". Understand, what Williamson is doing is by no means colored by affectation, These are legitimate representations of well known music infused with freshness and the output of a smokey, dusky set of vocal pipes, hitting the pitch mark with each note. She also engages in exciting wordless vocalizing, riding astride Kera Washington's bongos. This track, as others, features the talents of her very fine band, especially Jason Hunter's biting, striving tenor. All of this is to have "Alone Together" raise you a few inches off your chair. But there's a softness to her singing as well. Singing the verse with just Eric Byers guitar in tow, Williamson's version of "With a Song in My Heart" avoids the dramatics of most versions of this tune. Instead she presents it as a soft paean to the love and admiration of the subject of the song. The melding of Byers's guitar and the piano of Mark Shilansky's piano is one of the album's finer moments.
The CD is loaded with many other goodies as well, e.g., "My Love Is", and offers a very generous 77 minutes of first class jazz music, both vocal and instrumental. Recommended. Patrice's Internet home is at www.riverlily.com.
Track Listing: In the Loop; But Not for Me; Free to Dream; With a Song in My Heart; The Gentle Rain; U Don't Know What You're Missin'!; The Sound of Music Suite: Edelweiss, Do a Deer, The Lonely Goatherd, My Favorite Things, Edelweiss, So Long, Farewell; Alone Together; My Love Is; Love Me or Leave Me; Celia; Another Star; Puttin' on the Ritz; Close Your Eyes
Personnel: Patrice Williamson - Vocals/Flute; Eric Byers- Guitars; Jason Hunter -Soprano & Tenor Sax; Keala Kaumeheiwa - Bass; Ron Savage - Drums; Mark Shilansky - Piano; Kera Washington - Percussion
Record Label: River Lily