How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Shine is a bright, bluesy, jazzy album from the multitalented vocalist Shana Tucker. She also plays cello and guitar on this set of Tucker compositions, with insightful autobiographical titles like the upbeat "Fast Lane," with a great line "leave the porch light on," and the ever-moving "No Get Back (Together With Me)." These tunes, along with "A Secret That I Keep," are the best and most rhythmic selections on the disc, with snappy, direct lyrics, good beats and simple melodies. But most importantly, they tell a story, which is what a work of art should do; in addition to making their audience realize that life is universal.
Tucker began playing piano at an early age, adding cello through high school and college. She studied at Howard University and Brooklyn College Conservatory, worked with her trio, Hue, and has arranged/composed compositions on several CDs, theater productions and TV commercials. Her commissioned pieces include "Nexxus" and "Savannah," and Hue has opened for Hamiet Bluiett
, Vinx, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Shinewhich features a smiling Tucker on blue-colored back and front coversis her maiden voyage as a solo artist since moving to North Carolina, and is tight, polished and professionally done with her angelic voice throughout. The title cut is an inspiring ballad; poetically making sense when she says: "shine on you and me." Her sense of lyricism is keen and her lyrics are as compelling as her distinctive singing.
Her accompanying musicians perform well, as if they were vibing off of her, and help her to gracefully, yet forcefully, tell her tales. It's an excellent offering from a jazz talent that deserves more recognition, whose imprint and vitality has already been quite visible in North Carolina, and whose Shine is surely a sign of greater things to come.
Track Listing: A Secret That I Keep; November; The Precious Ones; Fast Lane; Bow Out Gracefully; Repeat Again; No Get-Back; Simplicity; Look Me in the Eye; Shine.
Personnel: Shana Tucker: vocals, guitar, cello; Chris Boerner: guitar; Scotty Miller: guitar; Pete Kimosh: bass; Josh Stodhl: drums; Stephen Coffman: drums; James Wallace" piano; Byron Elliot" Fender Rhodes; Grant Osbourne: piano.
Larry Reni Thomas is a 30-year veteran writer/radio announcer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who has worked at seven radio stations and whose journalistic work has appeared in downbeat and The New York Times Magazine.