Susan May: The Rose (2004)
Susan May’s voice belies her age. She was all of 12 when this album was recorded, and she shows a maturity far beyond her years. Her choice of songs cannot be faulted, for they give her the opportunity to display the range of her voice.
May works wonderfully well with most of the songs. She succeeds in bringing out the yearning quality of “The Rose” with her deep vocalisation, the pace unhurried letting the listener imbibe the power of the song. There is enough soft shading in “As Time Goes By" to make it appealing. The unobtrusive flugelhorn of Bobby Lewis adds to the impact.
Speaking of the band, these seven other players are empathic and crucial to the success of the songs. They never overwhelm or get in front of the singer, most often weaving the instruments with the voice. The buoyancy she lends to “Who Will Buy” radiates happiness and she gets the sentiment right on the head. Bobby Schiff gets the piano to add the rainbow hues during his solo.
May makes certain of hitting the right notes. That is good, but when it comes to singing jazz she should loosen up and lend her voice some pliancy. A jazz song gains greater import from improvisation. As for the blues, she does them pretty well, and it is only a matter of time before maturity underlines the emotion. Until then this serves as a darn good take-notice-of-me record.
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Track Listing: The Rose; When the Sun Comes Out; Embraceable You; Bye-Bye; Feeling Good; Soldier in the Rain; Smile; Blues in the Night; As Time Goes By; A Wink and a Smile; Over the Rainbow; Who Will Buy?; What the World Needs Now is Love
Personnel: Susan May--vocals; Bobby Schiff--piano; Scott Reed--guitar; Leon Joyce--drums; Jim Cox--bass; Bobby Lewis--trumpet, flugelhorn; Rick Vitek--drums; Greg baroni--electric bass; a.o.