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Tianna Hall: Hit Me with a Hot Note

C. Michael Bailey By

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With Texas Troubadour Jacqui Sutton splitting her time between Texas and parts West and taking on roll of Houston Jazz Mafia consigliere and Aussie reeds-mistress capo regime Alisha Pattillo staking out the Gulf, vocalist Tianna Hall remains as the undisputed Godmother of this Houston Jazz family. Hall has decided, in the hellish climes of the Texas summer, to release her finest recording to date, Hit Me With a High Note. A collection of standards that any lesser artist should take great care in covering, Hall throws these tunes off like Lord Byron did poetry on a bender. Addressing all of the high points of recording: song selection, musician selection and programming, Hall comes fully into her own.

Houston is home to an impressive collection of excellent musicians, several of whom Hall assembles here. Eschewing piano as harmony instrument, Hall taps the superb guitarist Paul Douglas Chester whose grace and musical charm knows no equal. Trumpeter Dennis Dotson and saxophonist Warren Sneed carefully season these sacred jazz pieces as they are held still by the rhythm section of Chester, bassist David Craig and drummer Sebastian Whittaker.

"Angel Eyes," "Bill Bailey," and "Cry Me a River" set the pace for this compelling look at the Great American Songbook at ground level. The title song employs everyone in a strolling, blues-inflected piece of excellent writing. Hall's voice is at once sexy and familiar, like the girl next door you finally noticed. Sneed and Dotson provide note-perfect solos that whisk Hall and company right along to a near perfect performance.

A Cole Porter expert, Hall rips a brisk-paced, Latin "Love for Sale" featuring Chester's best single-string and chordal soloing, illustrating that a singer need only a rhythm section to make things great happen. She rips through an up- tempo "The Man I Love" sliding home into a lowdown "Rock Me Baby" where Hall gets her socks dirty while Chester plays a crisp Texas blues for a masters' class in how-to-do-it. Hall and company have produced a recording every bit as intoxicating as the closer, "You Go to My Head." Warm island breezes and a kicker in a julep or two...

Track Listing: Angel Eyes; Bill Bailey; Cry Me A River; Do Nothing ‘til You Hear From Me; Exactly Like You; Goody Goody; Hit Me With a Hot Note; Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby; Just One of Those Things; Love For Sale; rock Me Baby; The Man I love; Too Marvelous for Words; You Go to My Head.

Personnel: Tianna Hall: vocals; Paul Chester: guitar; David Craig: upright bass; Sebastian Whittaker: snare drum/brushes, Dennis Dotson: trumpet; Warren Sneed: saxophone.

Title: Hit Me with a Hot Note | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

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