M'Balia: Halfway There

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise"

M'Balia: Halfway There
Halfway There is the debut recording of one Philadelphia- native M'Balia Singley, a talented singer matriculating from Yale with a degree in history and Temple with one in law. That is an embarrassment of riches. But can counselor Singley translate all of this brain power into music? Her life arc had her practicing law and raising a family before returning to music. When she did return, she did so in the company of New York pianist Orrin Evans whose influence on this recording is potently felt in the edge his playing gives these nine disparate performances making up the record.

"Softly, In a Morning Sunrise" (one of the two greatest ballads, along with "The Way You Look Tonight) is a daring piece to apply M'Balia's and Evans' forward musical thinking. The introduction is extended and airy. Evans summons some impressionistic motifs, testing the waters before committing to the performance. Bassist Mike Boone sets up a steady Sade momentum that owes as much to Anita Baker as it does to Frank Sinatra. Evans approaches his solo quietly and with much thought. He is Count Basie-stingy with notes, if the Count had smoke a bowl of opium, having a pipe dream about Bill Evans. M'Balia sings with assertive verve and distinction, transforming this ballad into a groove reverie.


M’Balia Singley: vocals; Orrin Evans: piano, background vocals; Mike Boone: bass; Gene Jackson: drums.

Album information

Title: Halfway There | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Gas

Post a comment about this album


View events near Philadelphia
Jazz Near Philadelphia
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon


CODE Quartet
First Mile
Lamb Anderson Sorgen
What are the Odds?
Dennis Winge
Untucked In Hannover
Tom Rainey Obbligato
Aliens & Wizards
The Spike Wilner Trio
Manhattan Samba
Hendrik Meurkens
Almost Alone Vol 1
Samo Salamon & Friends


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.