Jacqui Naylor: You Don't Know Jacq (2009)
You Don't Know Jacq is a fulfilling experience, showcasing Naylor's vocal ability and her talent for telling a story. No matter what musical context she puts herself injazz, pop or rockshe will turn it into a captivating narrative. She does so over a selection of songs from various musical styles. Naylor's specialty is tying the knot between clashing worlds of music, and she makes it work so wonderfully, giving new meaning to the tunes she interprets.
Opening with the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love," Naylor makes it work with her unique and unusual phrasing. Never falling into the apparent traps of interpreting one of pop's most well-known and often-covered songs, she alters the feel, turning it into a true jazz song. She then takes a Doors-like approach to the Gershwin classic "Summertime," with Hammond organ a vital part of the accompaniment and a number of musical riffs familiar to Doors fans. Again, she makes it work; not as a tender/mellow piece but as a powerful and hot song running on overdrive.
R.E.M.'s beautifully lyrical "Losing My religion" is delivered with unique phrasing and a slow Latin rhythm, the violins making it even more romantic and Naylor's R&B phrasing adding to the dramatic tension. "Black Coffee" features a new fusion bass line until the bridge, where Naylor brings the tune back to mainstream jazz. Sometimes a ballad with just piano accompaniment is enough, and here Naylor's voice is so rich, her phrasing is so enticing, that the song becomes both refreshing and relaxing.
The most surprising arrangement is "My Funny Valentine," with a rubato gypsy violin intro fading into a smashing AC/DC rhythm section, reminiscent of a chase/thriller movie. "Ain't No Sunshine" is another standout, filled with positive energy. Naylor turns what most interpret as a torch song into a perfect and powerful song of hope.
Track Listing: How Deep Is Your Love; Summertime; Celebrate Early And Often; Losing My Religion; Black Coffee; Dreamin' Big With You; Thank You Baby; Tell Me More And More And Then Some; Miss You; This Is The Spot; Something Cool; Shelter; Rise Up; My Funny Valentine; Ain't No Sunshine; City By the Bay.
Personnel: Jacqui Naylor: vocals; Art Khu: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, organ, background vocals; Michael Romanowski: acoustic guitar, recorder; Yoon Ki Chai: violin; Jon Evans: bass; Josh Jones: drums, percussion.
Record Label: Ruby Star Records