Janiece Jaffe: It Takes Two
For her second album as a leader, Indiana denizen Janiece Jaffe is accompanied by just guitar and bass, each separately. Guitarist Marcos Cavalcante is on the first six cuts, while bassist Tom Hildreth holds fort on the rest. Jaffe is in good company with this approach. Sheila Jordan recorded with just bass players Arild Andersen and Harvie Swartz behind her. More recently, Chicago songstress Jackie Allen has recorded an excellent voice/bass duet album with bassist Hans Sturm. On the guitar/voice side, contemporary vocalist Nancy King has been to the studio on more than one occasion with guitarist Glen Moore to turn out exceptional albums.
With this sparse instrumental assistance, the singer has to be prepared to carry more of the performance than she otherwise would. Here the results are mixed. Jaffe has exceptional range, good diction and works well with her backing. Her voice carries a slight vibrato which she uses to good effect, especially at the end of a line. But on some cuts she tends to stay too long at the higher end of her range causing her voice to get a bit thin as on "My Romance" and "Angel Eyes". It should be noted that on the former, Hildreth provides some choice bass soloing. When Jaffe takes a more balanced approach, using her full vocal range, the results are more satisfying as on a blusey "Just a Lucky So and So" highlighted by some good wordless vocalizing. Another outstanding rendition comes with "Gentle Rain". Both these are with Cavalcante's guitar, which sets off her voice better than does the bass, at least on this disc. Perhaps Jaffe stays with her higher range when with the lower pitched bass to offer a contrast.
On balance however, this CD has much to offer and will be a welcome addition to one's vocal collection.
Tracks:Blue Bossa; Till There Was You; You Go to My Head; My Romance; Blue Moon; La Vie en Rose; Angel Eyes; Harlem Nocturne; Rain on the Roses; The Nearness of You; Just a Lucky So and So; Prelude to a Kiss; Lotus Blossom; Gentle Rain
Personnel: Janiece Jaffe - Vocals; Marcos Cavalcante - Guitar; Tom Hildreth - Bass