How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
With her crystal clear voice and precise phrasing, singer Hilary Kole pulls off the delightful and unique You Are There. This is one of a kind, because eleven different top-of-the-line piano accompanists join her, with two appearing twice.
You Are There's 13 songs are all ballads, sung passionately, simply, and with no frills. According to the liner notes, most takes were spontaneous, with no charts or rehearsal. Kole's sense of dynamics is also effective, the way she builds to a climax. The only possible criticism of the CD is that it could have included an up-temp tune or two.
Kole is a regular on the New York jazz scene, with frequent performances at Birdland and other clubs including the Jazz Standard and the Iridium. She attracted great interest in 2008 with her debut, Haunted Heart, also on Justin Time.
All the pianists do their job impeccably. The late Hank Jones
's lightly swinging accompaniment spotlights Kole's fresh interpretation of the lyric.
Track Listing: If I Had You; Every Time We Say Goodbye; It's Always You; Lush Life; These Foolish Things; I Remember; How Do You Keep the Music Playing?; But Beautiful; Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise; Strange Meadowlark; You Are There; Two For the Road; All the Way.
Personnel: Hilary Kole: vocals; Monty Alexander: piano (13); Kenny Barron: piano (4); Dave Brubeck: piano (5, 10); Alan Broadbent: piano (11); Freddy Cole: vocals and piano (3); Benny Green: piano (9); Hank Jones: piano (1, 8); Steve Kuhn: piano (12); Michel Legrand: piano (7); Mike Renzi: piano (6); Cedar Walton: piano (2).