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I have seen many reviews on Kari Gaffney, but I had never listened to her CD. Reviews claiming Sultry, Powerful, Seductive. Was it hype, fact or fiction? When I got my copy, I saw rare beauty on the cover. This really set my alarm off. Is this another vocalist with great looks and no substance or grit? So I sat back having turned my skepticism dial to its full potential. Not only were the other critics right, they were dead on! I have my claims to add as well: sultry, powerful, seductive, sensuous, confident, and all encompassing. Gaffney’s ethereal vocals soar, inviting the listener to journey through the lyrics with her. For the uninitiated I definitely recommend this induction.
This CD not only makes a statement vocally but it also conveys musical maturity. The release is a quartet configuration without drums. Jeff Williams is featured on guitar. With a sound and style reminiscent of Pat Martino meets Joe Pass & Metheny. Williams’s guitar lines were cohesive and storytelling. Williams also doubled on bass on this release. His bass lines were fluid and legato driving this release with a solid force. His linear lead lines and melodic harmonic concepts added a refreshing approach. The pianist was Craig Wilcox. I was a bit disappointed with the minimalist approach he took on many songs, but was very taken by his approaches on Ballads. Gaffney is definitely a force to be reckoned with on ballads, and Wilcox rose to the occasion on “Lover Man” and “Angel Eyes”. Saxophone and Flute featured Rob Foster. The bluesy sax solo on “Walking After Midnight” (which I might add, is a refreshing slant on that already great rendition by Patsy Cline) definitely satisfied my hard edge desire. It was raw and real. The flute on “Feel Like Makin Love” was simply Beauty. The mood on this release was that of Seduction & Power. I found my experience to be one that surprised me and astounded me. Absolutely superb!!
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.