Home » Jazz Articles » Naama Gheber: Dearly Beloved

14
Album Review

Naama Gheber: Dearly Beloved

By

Sign in to view read count
Naama Gheber: Dearly Beloved
Cabaret singer? Jazz singer? Pop singer?

The splendid debut from Israeli singer Naama Gheber recalls a time when such distinctions were utterly without meaning. "Dearly Beloved" finds her inhabiting the same territory as such classic crossover singers as June Christy, Peggy Lee and Lena Horne.

Of course, for that generation, jazz WAS the popular music when they were coming up, and it underpinned and influenced the stage and film soundtracks of the day as well—so there was a common musical currency.

For the 28-year-old Gheber, her approach was obviously more intentional than subconsciously ingrained. And yet, whatever her path, the result is remarkably organic: Possessed of a rich, beautiful tone, and relaxed and conversational in delivery, the performance is imbued with a joyful naturalness that makes it seem she's simply telling us a story.

The material certainly doesn't hurt: Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Ellington, Arlen. And she chose wisely: Time-burnished standards like "'S Wonderful" and "This Time The Dream's On Me" are interspersed with equally evocative but lesser-known tunes like the title track by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town," or "Sometimes I'm Happy" by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar.

The backing band is equal to the material—and to Gheber's singing.

Pianist Ray Gallon isn't a nationally prominent name—but should be. His playing behind Gheber is simultaneously sparkling and complementary, recalling some of the great accompanists: the superb Paul Smith (Ella Fitzgerald), Bill Miller (Frank Sinatra), or Ralph Sharon (Tony Bennett). He'll comp softly behind Gheber or vibraphonist Steve Nelson so on-point that you barely realize he's there, but then his own solos and lead passages are brilliant riffs on the melodic theme that left this listener wondering where HIS debut as leader is?

Nelson's vibes lend a supper-club sheen to an outing that is already dripping in elegance.

Bassist David Wong and drummer Aaron Kimmel cue off each other throughout, providing a supple, rippling undercurrent that is a study in understated but unmistakable swing—it's the foundation for everything wonderful that happens here.

Few singers ever achieve the sense of mastery Gheber exhibits on her first outing: Supremely confident, in control, unafraid to surround herself with the kind of talent that might intimidate a lesser singer.

It is an exhilarating experience to listen to this new voice—here's hoping this is only the beginning of a lifelong body of work.

Track Listing

Dearly Beloved; So in Love; 'S Wonderful; Since I Fell for You; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Get Out of Town; This Time the Dream's on Me; You Stepped Out of a Dream; What's New; Just Squeeze Me; Sometimes I'm Happy; Good Night My Love (Layla Tov).

Personnel

Naama Gheber: voice / vocals.

Additional Instrumentation

Steve Nelson, vibraphone (tracks 1, 5, 8, 10, 12); Ray Gallon, piano; David Wong, bass; Aaron Kimmel, drums.

Album information

Title: Dearly Beloved | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Cellar Music


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Freedom
Albare & Co.
Fire Hills
Olie Brice Trio / Octet
Far Horizons
Brian Auger and the Trinity

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.