Jackie Ryan: Passion Flower (2002)
Coming from the San Francisco area which simply teems with good singers, comes the second CD of the very good Jackie Ryan and her first for the OpenArt label. Filled with emotional intensity falling somewhere between a not so exaggerated Betty Carter and a somewhat cooler Carmen McRae, Ryan applies her vocal virtuosity to a play list of 14 tunes, some familiar, some not, representing a wide spectrum of vocal opportunities. Running the gamut from "Moon Indigo" to a wild Vocalese version of Joe Henderson's "The Kicker", with words added by Ryan, the listener gets the full sensation of Ryan's deep, rich and lyric sensitive alto. Ryan adds a fresh coat of burnish to "I Don't Want to Cry Anymore" getting lots of help from the soulful trumpet of Allen Smith. Smith also adds muted horn on a swinging "Now or Never" trading fours with Noel Jewkes's tenor. With its good vocalizing and top rank instrumental support, one senses this is the way Ivie Anderson and Duke Ellington might have delivered this tune. Continuing to show her versatility, Ryan takes on "O Silèncio das Estrelas" sung in Portugese and backed with a Brazilian beat provided by Luis Romero. One of the album's prime tracks is another Latin-based tune, "Historia de un Amor" where Ryan combines passionate, bittersweet and hypnotic as her voice takes on an Andalusian flavor. Like the good jazz singer she is, Ryan is not reluctant to tackle any vocal challenge.
With the variety of material on this disc, it's clear Ryan absolutely refuses to be cast as a specialist in just a couple specimens of material. This is the same characteristic that was the trademark of the great singers, from Ethel Waters through Billie Holiday to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and the like. Special recognition has to be given to Larry Vuckovich whose strong, sympathetic piano accompaniment helps to make this one of the best vocal albums of 2002. Visit Jackie's Internet home at www.jackieryanmusic.com .
Track Listing: Now or Never; I Don't Want to Cry Anymore; Luiza; Lullaby of the Leaves; The Kicker; Some Other Spring; O Sil
Personnel: Jackie Ryan - Vocal; Larry Vukovich - Piano; Jeff Chambers - Bass; Eddie Marshall - Drums; Allen Smith - Trumpet; Noel Jewkes - Sax; Luis Romero - Percussion
Record Label: OpenArt