The immediate impression from this CD is that these women have a great time playing together. They perform a collection of songs out of the pop standard, country and rock worlds with a really infectious joy. The opener, "Beautiful Love" bounces around gleefully as Warren rolls her piano with a busy but light touch in the Oscar Peterson manner, Shook digs at her bass and Maricle keeps a swift, punchy rhythm going underneath. John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulders" is introduced by melancholy bowed bass from Shook before Warren and Maricle turn the melody into a bright samba. The trio plays "Tennessee Waltz" as a gently funky blues with Warren invoking the patented "slip note" style of Nashville session legend Floyd Cramer.
Their version of "I Thought About You" takes its cue from the opening "I took a trip on a train" lyric. Shook and Maricle set up a chugging shuffle rhythm that sounds like an old steam train moving down a track before Warren takes over with bluesy cascades. The pianist really boils over on the Antonio Carlos Jobim composition "Favela," twirling her notes with precision against a choppy, hard-driving rhythm laid down by Maricle and Shook. "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" is the one true ballad of the set, played in a spacious and delicate manner with Warren inserting her usual blues licks in a more subdued fashion. Finally Sonny Bono's "The Beat Goes On" lives up to its title. Shook locks into a relentless groove, Maricle bashes happily and Warren rocks and trembles her piano for seven delightfully soulful minutes.
In many big bands it's hard to get a full appreciation of how the rhythm section fits together because they are usually overwhelmed by the other instruments. On this CD you can emphatically hear how good the DIVA rhythm section is. Jackie Warren is a powerfully grooving pianist who plays a lot of notes and chords but never sounds forced or heavy handed. Meanwhile Amy Shook and Sherrie Maricle set up a beat so strong it could drive a fleet of eighteen-wheelers. Other piano trios may approach their work with more subtlety or experimentation but few sound as flat out fun as 3Divas.
Beautiful Love; Sunshine on My Shoulders; Tennessee Waltz; I Thought About You; Favela; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; The Beat Goes On.