164

The Williams/Roberti/White Trio: Driving At Night

By

Sign in to view read count
The hour is late and the lights are low for the last set at the Zanzibar Lounge and you're there to take in the Williams/Roberti/White Trio. This studio session from 2002 may well have approximated such an event. The trio consists of a female vocalist with guitar and bass living in the vicinity of Bozeman, Montana. M.J. Williams also plays trombone but is strictly a singer in this setting with Kelly Roberti on bass and Ben White, a former classical guitarist.

Most of this album consists of a series of late-night ballads smokily performed by the group. They open with Frank Loesser's "I've Never Been in Love Before," from Guys and Dolls, and then the early 1950s ballad "The Nearness of You." Williams uses a fine sense of vocal jazz shading and texture while still adhering to the beautiful melody lines. Benny Carter's "Only Trust Your Heart," almost always done up as in bossa nova tempo, is here slowed down to an eleven minute love song and "Bye-Bye Blackbird" is, likewise, taken down for a slow ride through the countryside with a scatted ending. The standard "Alone Together" receives a similar treatment.

At this point, I would have accepted, positively, the ambiance generated by these cool, noirish ballads. However the final three tracks offered some surprises. "Driving at Dawn" and "Driving at Night" are vocalese offerings that offer a slight increase in tempo and afford Williams some edgier vocal opportunities. John Coltrane's "Equinox" begins and ends with up some lyrics followed by Williams vocalese. I would have been interested in learning who penned the lyrics, but alas, no writer credits are listed.

In this setting, a lot of pressure is placed on the guitar and bass for support of the vocals, and White and Roberti come across admirably. White does not employ rhythm guitar techniques here. Its largely sympatico plucking to enhance the melody of each tune while Roberti delivers a needed pulse in his work and also gets some effective solos in notably on "Equinox." Nice work, guys!

Track Listing: I've Never Been in Love Before, The Nearness of You, Only Trust Your Heart, Bye-Bye Blackbird, Alone Together, Driving at Dawn, Equinox, Driving at Night.

Personnel: M.J. Williams, vocals; Kelly Roberti, bass; Ben White, guitar.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Independent Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Live with a Boom" CD/LP/Track Review Live with a Boom
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "The Darkening Blue" CD/LP/Track Review The Darkening Blue
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "With Due Respect" CD/LP/Track Review With Due Respect
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Fugitive Beauté" CD/LP/Track Review Fugitive Beauté
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 11, 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!