Blues in the City with a more lush and subdued offering.
Laverne Butler's voice is like a ribbon that she has tied onto a beautiful, sexy bow. Her latest, A Foolish Thing to Do exudes an established confidence not totally in place for her debut, Blues In The City. Following a recent trend in including more contemporary pop songs in the jazz repertoire, Ms. Butler deftly tackles the Goffin/King nugget "Go Away Little Boy" and the Bacharach/David composition "Make It Easy On Yourself". Added to these are the standard standards "When I Fall in Love" (rendered in a swinging, up-tempo romp) and a likewise "Basin Street Blues", which sports an effective bass solo from Daryl Hall. Pianist Bruce Barth (also the producer) contributes his own "Affinity" the lone instrumental on the disc. Trumpet phenom Terell Stafford is on had to add his certain panache to the gumbo, as well as David "Fathead" Newman's masculine tenor and Steve Wilson's sinewy alto. Regardless of any quibbles, this disc is finely crafted, as we have begun to expect from MaxJazz.
This disc possesses less of the adventurous spirit of Blues In The City or Carla Cook's Grammy®- nominated It's All About Love. But it also possesses more polish and certainty than these earlier efforts. Speaking of these earlier efforts, MaxJazz has released the first compilation drawn from the Vocal Series ( The Vocal Series CD Sampler, MXJ 001, 2001). This collection contains songs from each of the 10 Vocal Series releases. This sampler provides a long view of the vocal styles collected by the label. Included are:
Laverne Butler— Blues In The City (MXJ 105), "The Blues are Out of Town"
Laverne Butler— A Foolish Thing To Do (MXJ 113), "Dindi"
Carla Cook— It's All About Love (MXJ 106), "Inner City Blues"
Carla Cook— Dem Bones (MXJ 111), "The More I See You"
René Marie— How Can I Keep From Singing (MXJ 109), "Tennessee Waltz"
René Marie— Vertigo (MXJ 109), "Vertigo"
Phillip Manuel— Love Happened To Me (MXJ 110), "Love Happened to Me," "If I Were a Bell"
Mary Stallings— Live at the Village Vanguard (MXJ 112), "Sunday Kind of Love," "Gypsy in My Soul"
Christine Hitt— You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (MXJ 107), "Moonlight," You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To"
Asa Harris— All In Good Time (MXJ 108), "Someone To Watch Over Me"
This collection represents the Vocal Series catalog very well. I heartily recommend any and all of these releases.