210

Karen Francis: Better Days

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Karen Francis is a force of nature. She blows in like a gale-force wind on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," and barely slows down as she powerfully redefines jazz vocals with standards and originals. Alto saxophonist Antonio Parker blows and blows, setting up a stable yet incandescent foil to Ms. Francis' elastic vocals. She beautifully interprets her idol Carmen Lundy's ballad "Better Days" and duets with Christian McBride on Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You." Now that is about as basic as a rhythm section gets. This is an effective vehicle for Ms. Francis, whose expansive voice fills every nook and cranny of the listening experience.

Ms. Francis' original "Four Voices Left Unheard" is a freedom forum vocal jazz piece that soars. "That Old Devil Moon" swings effortlessly with Allyn Johnson's orchestral piano driving the arrangement and Ms. Francis fine phrasing guiding the song. One album highlight is Jobim's "Wave." A tricky song vocally, Karen Francis throws it off with grace and aplomb, her voice full and sure. Better Days is one of the best vocal jazz albums released this year. Let us hope there are many more to come.

For more information visit Karen Francis and Virgo Rising Records.


Track Listing: Softly, As In A Moring Sunrise; What Shall I Say To You; Better Days; The Nearness Of You; Four Voices Left Unheard; Cameron?s Song; Old Devil Moon; Welcome; From M0oment To Moment; Wave.

Personnel: Karen Francis?Vocals; Allyn Johnson?Piano; Christian McBride, James King, Michael Hawkins? Bass; Nasar Abadey?Drums; Antonio Parker?Alto Saxophone; Barnette Williams, Same Turner? Percussion.

Title: Better Days | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Virgo Rising Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Back In Your Own Backyard" CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Henry" CD/LP/Track Review Henry
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Strykin’ Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Strykin’ Ahead
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Sleight Of Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Sleight Of Hand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.