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Rita Edmond: A Glance at Destiny

Edward Blanco By

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Rita Edmond burst onto the jazz scene with her impressive debut, Sketches Of A Dream (T.O.T.I. Music Inc., 2008). That dream continues on a follow-up gem of a recording, presenting new arrangements of vintage material on A Glance at Destiny. A California girl at heart, Edmond is a fixture in the Los Angeles area jazz scene,already achieving a measure of success writing and recording for other artists before focusing on her own singing career. The Ohio-born vocalist began singing at the age of fifteen, and grew up listening to legendary divas including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson, all of whom inspired her passion for song.

Gifted with a beautiful, four-octave range voice, Edmond seems perfectly suited for jazz, stating "Once I finally started singing jazz, I knew that this is what I had to do,...what I was put here for." Serving as both producer and arranger on this project, Edmond made all the major decisions, including the personnel and solo duties. Using two overlapping rhythm sections, the singer features pianists Joel Scott and Lew Mathews, bassists James Leary and Edwin Livingston, with drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath handling the stick work. Guitarists Greg Poree and Jacques Lasure share duties, while trumpeter Nolan Shaheed, flautist Z. Sean Johnson and the versatile, in-demand saxophonist Rickey Woodard appear sparingly on the disc .

Borrowing a host of songs from The Great American Songbook, the repertoire includes the beautiful love ballad "Gentle Rain," Carl Fischer's classic "You've Changed," the Gershwin brothers' "S' Wonderful" and Gene De Paul/ Don Raye's jazz standard, "You Don't Know What Love Is." Choosing fourteen songs in varied tempos of light jazz, the singer also touches on the Brazilian genre briefly, featuring one of Antonio Carlos Jobim's oft-recorded tunes in "Triste," where Poree and Johnson are showcased with measured solos.

Woodard is a standout player on several pieces, none better than "Just Friends," though his performance on "This Can't Be Love" is also first-rate. While the players are provided with a good portion of solos space throughout, this is still Edmond's album, and her commanding approach to the lyrics leaves no doubt who is in charge.

A Glance at Destiny provides a highly enjoyable musical experience for those favoring light vocal jazz. The title may, in fact, refer to Edmond's vision of her own future, delivering a pleasurable selection of songs that offer but a glimpse of the singer's destiny.

Track Listing: Sunny; You've Changed; Gentle Rain; It Might As Well Be Spring; In Case You Didn't Know; It Could Happen To You; S Wonderful; Here's To Life; Easy Living; Triste; Just Friends; You Don't Know What Love Is; This Can't Be Love; You're My Wings.

Personnel: Rita Edmond: vocals; Lew Matthews: piano (2-4, 6, 10-13); Joel Scott: piano (1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 14); James Leary: bass (1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 14), Edwin Livingston: bass (2-4, 6 , 10-13); Greg Poree: guitar (10); Jacques Lasure: guitar (5, 14); Rickey Woodard: tenor saxophone (3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 13); Nolan Shaheed: trumpet (5, 7, 9); Z. Sean Johnson: flute (10).

Title: A Glance at Destiny | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: T.O.T.I. Music Co.


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