Erna Ferry: Devil May Care

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Erna Ferry: Devil May Care Perhaps I'm missing something, but what's the point in showcasing a singer and recording her so abysmally that one must struggle to grasp the lyrics, thanks to the album's unremitting and irksome reverb? After listening to Devil May Care, the only thing I can say with any measure of assurance about New Zealander Erna Ferry is that she has a great smile, seems to have a nice mid-range voice with ample power, and sings on-key; beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

Comparatively speaking, the Rodger Fox Big Band sounds terrific, as does guest pianist (and organist) Bill Cunliffe. Even so, the band is encumbered, as is Ferry, by the excessive "echo chamber effect that pervades Auckland's Avondale Studios, which often makes listening more a chore than a pleasure. I found this weakness especially displeasing, as I'm a big fan of Fox's sturdy ensemble.

Aside from being annoying, the exaggerated acoustics serve as a constant reminder that there is a microphone separating Ferry from her audience. To me, the best vocal albums are those in which the singer seems to be in the same room, crooning directly into my ear with no trace of electronic enhancement. That's definitely not the case here. Ferry is placed at a clear disadvantage, one that even her best efforts can't erase.

A pity, as the choice of material is sound and the charts, by Fox, Jeff Driskill, Mike Crotty, and the late Gordon Brisker, are first-rate. Likable solos, too, by Fox, Cunliffe, tenors Pete France and Cameron Allen, alto Godfrey de Grut, baritone Andrew Baker, and guitarist Neil Watson. But Ferry is the headliner, and the bloated acoustics do her no favors. Next time, let's pare the backup group down to a trio, okay?

Track Listing: Devil May Care; Be Cool; Im Walkin; Is You Is or Is You Aint My Baby?; You Hit the Spot; The People That You Never Get to Love; Hallelujah I Love Him So; How Blue Can You Get; Cry Me a River; Some Cats Know; Out of My Continental Mind; Stormy Monday (65:52).

Personnel: Erna Ferry, vocals, with the Rodger Fox Big Band Rodger Fox, leader, trombone solos; Jo Spiers, Scott Whineray, Andrew Daley, Liz Herron, trumpet; Godfrey de Grut, Angus Ramsey, alto sax; Cameron Allen, Pete France, tenor sax; Andrew Baker, baritone sax; Mark Spiers, Mike Young, Daniel McGowan, Kurt Gibson, trombone; Brian Henderson (4, 6, 7, 9), piano; Neil Watson, guitar; Alex Griffith, bass; Graham Cope, drums. Special guests Bill Cunliffe (1-3, 5, 8, 10-12), piano, organ; Jon Papenbrook, trumpet.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: TBone Records | Style: Vocal


More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Swong" CD/LP/Track Review Swong
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "And to the Republic" CD/LP/Track Review And to the Republic
by Mark F. Turner
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Escape  from The Unhappy Society" CD/LP/Track Review Escape from The Unhappy Society
by Anthony Shaw
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Steelonious" CD/LP/Track Review Steelonious
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!