Cynthia Felton: Freedom Jazz Dance (2012)
Cynthia Felton has released two exceptionally well-conceived concept recordings in Afro Blue: The Music of Oscar Brown (Self Produced, 2009) and Come Sunday: The Music of Duke Ellington (Self Produced, 2010). She makes a partial break with this refined focus to release a collection of personal favorite standards on Freedom Jazz Dance. Like her two previous recordings, Felton has opted to employ a variety of musicians as available as opposed to a single unit. Clearly, there is no reason to change what has been successful.
The most provocative performance amongst the group is Felton's reading of Eddie Harris and Eddie Jefferson's "Freedom Jazz Dance." Controlled chaos is the best description for both the sparse instruments (a standard piano trio) and Felton's vocals. The studied Felton sings with the closest thing to abandon here, while pianist John Beasley turns in a solo as angular and wrought iron as Felton's vocals. On the whole, Freedom Jazz Dance is not Felton's best, but the performance of the title tune might well be.
Personnel: Cynthia Felton: vocals; John Beasley: piano; Ryan Cross: bass; Lorca Hart: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced