The notes that accompany Colorado-based singer Barbara Paris' fourth album, a tribute to Billie Holiday, don't name those responsible for the recording or mixing, and for good reason. If I'd been in the control booth when those decisions were being made I'd wish to remain anonymous too. Even though only two musicians (Paris and pianist Joe Bonner) are involved, what was no doubt envisioned as an amiable singer-and-pianist enterprise is by and large singer-versus-pianist with Paris straining to make her soft voice heard above Bonner's robust arpeggios and emphatic block chords. On the other hand, that may not be wholly undesirable, as Paris, when she can be heard, is quite often less than meticulous, missing some notes by the aural equivalent of a country mile while emoting with a notable lack of warmth or charisma (unlike the legend to whom the album is dedicated). A rather surprising outcome, it would seem, from someone who has been singing since she was a teen-ager and whose first album was released about thirteen years ago, but one that is clearly validated by one's listening apparatus (ears). Other than to applaud the effort, I don't know how to respond to this. If a non-musician such as I can hear a vocalist singing off-key, can't anyone else especially those involved in the enterprise recognize that too? Granted, studio time is expensive but one would hope that such obvious blemishes would be repaired before the album was approved for release. As they weren't, I found the result far less than acceptable and certainly can't endorse it.
Contact: Perea Productions, 1895 Alpine Avenue, 17E, Boulder, CO 80304. Phone 303-651-1893. Web site, www.barbaraparis.com
Personnel: Barbara Paris, vocals; Joseph Bonner, piano.