104

Teri Thornton: I'll Be Easy to Find

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Singer Teri Thornton gained fairly wide recognition in the early 1960s but then fell into prolonged obscurity. Recently "rediscovered" by manager/producer Suzi Reynolds, the talented Thornton, now 65 years old and battling cancer, placed in the 1998 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition, played the Village Vanguard, and got signed to Verve. I’ll Be Easy to Find is her emotionally charged comeback.

Thornton’s wide, swooping vibrato suggests Sarah Vaughan, but her somewhat dry timbre is closer to Carmen McRae. Her respectable songwriting puts her in the company of Abbey Lincoln, and her quirky pianistics on three cuts recall Nina Simone. On "Somewhere in the Night" and "I’ll Be Seeing You," two of the disc’s ballads, she employs a falsetto effect that is titillating and highly original. Her scatting between verses on the up-tempo "It Ain’t Necessarily So" is hip and distinctive. "Nature Boy" is unconventionally arranged by Suzi Reynolds in a snappy 3/4, and features background horn lines nicely crafted by Howard Johnson.

Other strong points include a chipper, straightforward rendering of Frank Loesser’s "I Believe in You"; the Bart Howard ballad "I’ll Be Easy to Find"; Thornton’s own latin-tinged composition, "Wishing Well"; and Woody Harris’s "Where Are You Running?", also beautifully orchestrated by Johnson. Thornton’s bossa nova adaptation of the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t work quite as well, and I can do without the cheesy funk of "Feels Good."

Thornton is probably at her best on two original blues numbers. "Salty Mama," the hot closing track, is her winning performance at the 1998 Monk competition. You can easily see how her brashness and confidence won over the crowd: "He left town on the run/ late last night/ caught a midnight train to get a redeye flight/ but I’m a salty mama/ sleepin’ ’fore the sun go down/ I’m gonna call out the posse and have him brought back to town." And on "Knee Deep in the Blues," she manages to squeeze an ad-libbed mouthful into the first four bars of the third chorus, as if thinking out loud. Notice also her autobiographical use of the past tense on this refrain: "I was knee deep in the blues/ knee deep and sinkin’ fast/ my future was being swallowed/ by the quicksands of my past." It’s great to hear this underappreciated songstress at the top of her game, with the hard times hopefully behind her. tracks: 1. Somewhere in the Night 2. I Believe in You 3. It Ain’t Necessarily So 4. The Lord’s Prayer 5. Knee Deep in the Blues 6. I’ll Be Easy to Find 7. Nature Boy 8. Wishing Well 9. Where Are You Running? 10. Feels Good 11. I’ll Be Seeing You 12. Salty Mama personnel: Teri Thornton, vocal (all tracks), piano (7, 10, 11); Howard Johnson, cornet, tuba, contrabass clarinet, baritone saxophone (1, 3, 5, 7-9); Dave Bargeron, trombone (1, 7-9); Jerome Richardson, flute, bass flute, alto saxophone (1, 4, 7-9); Ray Chew, piano (1-6, 8, 9); Norman Simmons, piano (12); Lonnie Plaxico, bass (1-11); Michael Bowie, bass (12); J.T. Lewis, drums (1-11); Grady Tate, drums (12)

Cyberhome: www.vervemusicgroup.com


Title: I'll Be Easy to Find | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Aquarelle" CD/LP/Track Review Aquarelle
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Second Act" CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.