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Sherri Roberts: Dreamsville

Jim Santella By

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Singer Sherri Roberts has a pleasant, expressive alto voice, scat-sings and interprets lyrics, uses a vibrato somewhat wider than most, and fades from the limelight at will. The singer, who grew up in Atlanta, earned a degree in theater, and moved to San Francisco, names influences such as Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, and Helen Merrill.

Roberts fares best when she projects firmly with a strong will and with her desired expressions, such as on "It Never Entered My Mind." While working with Chris Potter on "Zoot Walks In," there are spots where she allows the laid-back mood of the tune to take control and wavers with indecision as to the amount of strength to apply in phrasing or just how crisp to make the articulation. On Bob Dorough’s "I’ve Got Just About Everything," the singer minimizes projection and rolls through the lyrics with rounded breathy edges that seem to cry out for more pronounced articulation. Similarly, "People Will Say We’re In Love" finds the vocalist competing with the band to be heard, and losing the battle as the words melt one into the other. Elsewhere, the choice of material has made a difference, as most of the album finds Sherri Roberts in a comfortable setting, relaxed, but painting the picture one would expect for each song. Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to "How Little We Know" com! e across in the foreground and blend perfectly with Soskin’s piano harmony, Swartz’s compatible bass counterpoint, and Gottlieb’s tasteful drum accompaniment. Swartz, Potter, and cellist Friedlander each have opportunities to solo, and demonstrate a unique affinity with the singer. In a rolling 5/4 meter, Henry Mancini’s "Dreamsville" presents Roberts in a setting suited to her relaxed approach and drifting columns of melody. Highlights of the album include a flirtatious "Social Call," an expressive ballad rendering of Dave Brubeck’s "Strange Meadowlark," and Jobim’s light & happy "Two Kites."


Track Listing: Zoot Walks In (The Red Door); With a Song in my Heart; Social Call; Two Kites; Middle of the Night; Dreamsville; People Will Say We

Personnel: Sherri Roberts- vocals; Mark Soskin- piano; Harvie Swartz- acoustic bass; Danny Gottlieb- drums; Chris Potter- tenor saxophone on "Zoot Walks In", "People Will Say We

Title: Dreamsville | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Brownstone


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