LaVerne Butler: Blues in the City (1999)
Influences. Colleagues have opined that Ms. Butler sounds like a pop Dinah or blue Billie. I think she is a female Sinatra. Her repertoire on this disc includes the Sinatra classics “One More for the Road” and “Willow Weep for Me”. Her phrasing is simple and lean in a thoughtful way, like the Chairman’s. Her delivery is in all good taste. There are no scat pyrotechnics. No, this is not Butler’s style. Instead, she concentrates on the nuances. Caressing syllables and rests in a sensuous way that is never cheap—always tasteful and refined.
This disc is populated with work-horse standards made fresh by Butler’s spare approach. The only possible quibble would be the inclusion of background vocalists, who detract from Butler’s authoritative delivery. Then again, the songs are all fun because of their inclusion. A sexy “Hit The Road Jack” is the disc highlight. The supporting trio is very fine delivering smart, understate solos that perfectly match Butler’s overall approach.
This is not music of reverence, it is music of practice. Blues In The City is a pragmatic release illustrating how this music is supposed to sound.
Track Listing: This Bitter Earth; Please Send Me Someone to Love, Hit the Road Jack; Willow Weep for Me; The Blues are Out of Town; One for My Baby; Late Sunday Afternoon; I
Personnel: LaVerne Butler: Vocals: Bruce Barth: Piano; John Webber, Bass; Klaus Suonsaari: Drums; Ava Burton and Janet Givens: Background Vocals
Record Label: MAXJAZZ