How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Along with the maternal instincts of Nnenna Freelon and Carmen Lundy, add Barbara Montgomery, who delayed a singing career to raise a family. Chalk one up for motherhood, as this CD of originals and '70s compositions reflects a woman with something to offer.
Equipped with a husky voice (think Benny Carter's alto with lyrics), Montgomery simmers through a set of moody, reflective, and serious pieces. Evoking emotions similar to Branford Marsalis' Eternity, Trinity is more a tone poem than a collection of songs. Each piece deepens the mood; the percolating and rumbling percussion is an underlying backdrop to Montgomery's world-weary stories. "I Fall In Love Too Easily" sets the mood, with little change in spirits from her reading of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love."
The fact that there are two songs by Leonard Cohen speaks volumes. Montgomery's own compositions (along with Aaron Graves') are deep and full of gravitas; her unique timbre and enunciation carries you through and holds your interest for the entire 70-plus minutes. Not many singers could hold your interest that long in one mood. This lady knows her strengths, and she sticks to them. Strike one up for the advantages of motherhood!
Track Listing: Alexandra Leaving; Little One; If It's Magic; April 14; Avec Le Temps; Thousand Kisses
Deep; Junkman; She Speaks; Between; Crazy Love; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Trinity.
Personnel: Barbara Montgomery: vocals; Aaron Graves: piano, keyboards, percussion, electric bass;
Lee Smith, Steve Beskrone or Cliff Kellum: acoustic bass; Mike Boone: electric bass; Wilby
Fletcher, Dan Monaghan, Butch Reed or Jimmy Coleman: drums; Marlon Simon: congas;
Doc Gibbs: congas/percussion; Ron Jennings or Monette Sudler: electric guitar; Joe Ford:
soprano saxophone; John Swana: flugelhorn, trumpet; Louis Taylor: alto saxophone; Jay
Davidson: baritone saxophone; Lynn Riley: flute.