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There has been a trend for the past number of years of jazz vocalists opting for original compositions primarily and simply peppering their recordings and performances with stray standards. El Paso native Rosana Eckert conforms to this trend with a collection of original and standard compositions that are fresh and sophisticated. Backed by a crack team of Dallas musicians, including percussionist/husband Gary Eckert, Ms. Eckert effortlessly swings with her well-shaped alto and intelligent ear for lyrics.
The opener, "I Know I’ve Seen This Thing Before," penned by the singer and her husband, flows with that jazz perfection one always wishes for in a vocal recording. Ms. Eckert duets first with bassist John Adams, progressively adding the remaining band members, building a quiet tour-de-force. Johnny Mercer’s "Something’s Gotta Give" allows pianist Brian Piper to display his wares in a jaunty fashion. "Ela E Carioca" is a Bossa sway and "Mr. Hooper’s Find It In A Minute Book" a swing-era phonetic and poetic marvel, complete with a growling muted trumpet.
Ms. Eckert’s ballads are uniformly fine. "At the End of the Day" is almost necessarily a lullaby quietly accented with Rodney Booth’s exquisite brass. She accomplishes the same with "Lament," a plaintive and pure melody piece gently driven by the core rhythm section. Two wonderful inclusions are Benny Carter’s "Rock Me To Sleep," which struts the recording stage with a swagger and wink, and "One Mint Julep" which is a fast, rocking piece with no peers on this recording. The piece highlights Aaron Kelley’s electric guitar. Ms. Eckert’s debut recording is an occasion for celebration. It is a well-conceived and well-performed pleasure.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.