How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
They say that love makes the world go around. I don't know about that, but it's made for some great songs, tunes that vocalist Deborah Latz goes after with gusto on her debut disc, Toward Love.
On the classic "Loverman," where Billie Holiday sounded fragile and deeply hurt—where Carmen McRae gave us a wounded, world weary mood—Latz evokes a hopeful innocence, as though she believes it will happen, that loverman will show up. The vocalist demonstrates some downtempo sass on Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," this listener's highlight. Her voice rings with a fetching richness here, with Bob Bowen's bass caressing her syllables. And do I detect a hint of tongue in cheek? I'm not sure. The lyric is—by today's perspective on romance—wonderfully sappy; and Deborah Latz pulls it off with grace and straight-ahead beauty.
On "Avril a Paris" Latz shows us she can sing a lyric in French with aplomb; pianist Timo Elliston works a percussive mode, nailing down the rhythm behind the mellifluous flow of language. "Night and Day" has the vocalist entering the scene with a coy hush in her voice, a softly feminine Tony Bennett-like rasp in front of Ben Sher's piquant guitar lines.
A marvelous vocal effort, beginning to end. I'm bewitched.
Track Listing: It Had to Be You, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, How Insensitive, Gone with the Wind, Avril a Paris, Lover Man, I Only Have Eyes for You, Night and Day, The Thrill is Gone, Bluesette
Personnel: Deborah Latz--vocal; Timo Elliston--piano; Bob Bowen--bass; Jimmy Wormworth--drums; Bob Sher--guitar