4

Mercedes Nicole: Beautiful Alignment

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Mercedes Nicole: Beautiful Alignment Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone all make appearances in the biography of Seattle-based singer Mercedes Nicole. She has been a creative face in jazz since the turn of the century, writing, producing and performing tributes to Simone, Etta James, and Dinah Washington. With Beautiful Alignment, Nicole debuts on disc with a collection of songs reflecting her preferences and influences as well as her own original view of jazz vocals.

Leading a trumpet-fronted quartet, Nicole nods at Holiday with "God Bless The Child" and "Good Morning Heartache," while winking at Simone with "Afro Blue," plus a handful of original compositions that sit well beside the canon. Nicole's approach is a simple one: make simple, uncomplicated music with a distilled band playing refined arrangements. Her mantra might be "doing more with less to produce the infinite." Nicole is fond of altering the meter of her delivery as well as the beat pacing. She is comfortable singing about a half beat behind the band.

This approach completely recasts Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies." With an arrangement of descending rhythmic figures alternating with frantic 4/4 pacing, the song is updated in a clever and inventive way. The approach is the scripture on which her own compositions rest. Nicole's bright alto curls within the singer's "Hiding" and "Timeless." Pianist Marc Seales' accompaniment is spare, as are his solos. He endeavors to play only those notes necessary and this pays off. Bassist Evan Flory-Barnes and West Coast-fixture brass specialist Thomas Marriott are always tasteful, never crowding the vocalist while she practices her trade rather well.

Track Listing: Feeling Good; Afro Blue Introduction; Afro Blue; Blackberry Winter; What A Little Moonlight Can Do; God Bless the Child; My Heart is Dancing; Breathe Again; Blue Skies; Timeless; Good Morning Heartache; Hiding.

Personnel: Mercedes Nicole: vocals; Marc Seales: piano; D’Vonne Lewis: drums; Thomas Marriott: trumpet and flugelhorn; Evan Flory-Barnes: bass; Jeff Busch: percussion; Cheryl Wilder, Teresa Wornstaff: background vocals.

Title: Beautiful Alignment | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Laughing At Life" CD/LP/Track Review Laughing At Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Because I Love You" CD/LP/Track Review Because I Love You
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by John Sharpe
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Prototype" CD/LP/Track Review Prototype
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 13, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.