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Eve Cornelious & the Chip Crawford Trio: I Feel Like Some Jazz Today

Joel Roberts By

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After listening to scores of albums by new jazz artists, I've come to the conclusion that there are more bad singers out there than bad anything else — pianists, trumpeters, etc. Singing jazz with any kind of authority is just plain hard. A decent voice is not enough — and far from the most important aspect of jazz singing. Intangibles like presence, style, originality, and the all-important ability to hold your own with a swingin' band trump pure technique any day in my book.

So it was with a little apprehension that I previewed I Feel Like Some Jazz Today by a North Carolina singer named Eve Cornelious and the Chip Crawford Trio. I needn't have worried. As soon as Cornelious steps up to the microphone on the opening title cut, a rollicking original by Crawford, it's clear we're in the hands of a pro. Here's a singer who has integrated the best of the modern jazz tradition, drawing from the likely sources — Sarah, Ella, Billie — and putting them together into something wholly her own. She's equally adept at romantic ballads or fast-paced scatting. She's also blessed with a truly sensational voice, easily hitting high notes that would have most of her peers straining — check her bravura performance on Miles Davis' "Flamenco Sketches."

Pianist Crawford (he and Cornelious are husband and wife) and his group offer wonderfully sympathetic accompaniment on a set that includes several of the most challenging standards for vocalists: "Lush Life," "My Funny Valentine," and, daringly, an Ella-inspired romp on "Air Mail Special." Cornelious pulls them all off with style. Expect to hear big things from her.

Web site: http://www.evecornelious.com

Personnel:

Eve Cornelious, vocals; Chip Crawford, piano; Michael Howell, bass; Alvin Atkinson, drums; Ray Codrington, trumpet; Reggie Codrington, soprano sax; Beverly Botsford, percussion; Ira Wiggins,tenor sax.

| Record Label: Pooky Looky Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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