Ya Ya Fornier with David Murray: Bearcat (2003)
The singer is the widow of drummer Vernel Fornier, and apparently a longtime friend of Murray’s who talked the saxophonist into supporting her on this outing. Which would be fine if Mrs. Fornier weren’t so lacking in style as a vocalist. Most of the time she sounds as if she is singing along with the headphones on in her living room, almost noncommittal about the whole affair. The pulse of the disc thereby never rises above that of someone on life support. The material isn’t especially interesting or suited to a singer – any singer, but particularly one who is so lacking in expressiveness.
Percussionist Asson helps a bit on “Chant de la Montange” [sic], but his rhythms on “Armando” are completely inappropriate given what’s going on with the rest of the band. Murray does what he can to contribute, but he, Tabbal and Shahid (normally about the best working rhythm pair in today’s jazz) can only drag this so far out of the morass.
In a word: Feh.
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Track Listing: Bearcat; Voice of the Saxophone; Don
Personnel: Ya Ya Fornier, vocals (except #2); David Murray, tenor sax; Sweet Sue Terry, alto sax (#2,3); Craig Taborn (#5,7,8), Rod Williams (all others), piano; Gerald Cleaver (#5,7,8), Tani Tabbal (all others), drums; Jaribu Shahid, bass; Asson, percussion (#6,7,8).
Record Label: Random Chance Records