11

Nicolas Bearde: Invitation

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Nicolas Bearde: Invitation A jewel always shines brightest when placed in just the right setting, and boy does this album emphasize that point. When Nicholas Bearde's soulful and affecting baritone sits atop these impeccably tailored arrangements of sterling standards, the results are absolutely stunning.

With his four previous albums, the Bay Area-based Bearde has managed to dance around labels. He's flirted heavily with the smoother side of jazz, delivered R&B-centric music, and dabbled in a variety of other settings, never staying in one musical locale for long. Until now, that is. With Invitation, Bearde commits to a straight-ahead sound from top to bottom, delivering a homerun of an album that showcases his mastery of phrasing, shading, and lyric(al) dissection. He teams with pianist Nat Nat Adderley, Jr., who plays piano on seven of the nine tracks, co-produced the album, and arranged all of the music, ultimately bringing directness, substance, and subtlety into the mix. Their simpatico connection helps this music to soar.

The album opens on "Come Back To Me," the first of three numbers featuring guest saxophonist Vincent Herring. It's a 4/4 swinger with waltzing bookends that gives Herring some space to shine and finds Bearde delivering the lyrics with a casual and confident approach, completely relaxed and assured in nature. Then comes "Dindi," an astounding display of musical taste, discernment, and nuance. The song seamlessly shifts between different feels—rubato expressions, lightly flowing time, earthbound swing—and Bearde completely owns the song. It's a standout on an album full of them.

Further on there's a gripping "Nature Boy" that brings Herring back into the mix, an intimate "Lush Life" that focuses in on voice and piano, a breezy trip through Billy Eckstine's "I Want To Talk About You" with some space for Anton Schwartz's tenor saxophone to shine, and a percussion-dusted trip through "Maiden Voyage" that draws attention to the infrequently encountered lyrics of that Herbie Hancock classic. Every single one sparkles with the light of authenticity and class. If you haven't heard Bearde sing, this is the place to start. Invitation is an out and out winner that should help to elevate Nicolas Bearde into the upper echelon of the vocal jazz world.

Track Listing: Come Back To Me; Dindi; My One And Only Love; Nature Boy; Invitation; Lush Life; I Want To Talk About You; Maiden Voyage; Save Your Love For Me.

Personnel: Nicolas Bearde: vocals; Nat Adderley Jr.: piano (1-6, 9); Vincent Herring: alto saxophone (1, 4, 5); Kenny Davis: bass(2-4, 9); Rocky Bryant: drums; (2-4, 9); Belden Bullock: bass (1, 5); Vincent Ector: drums (1, 5); John R. Burr: piano (7); Anton Schwartz: tenor saxophone (7); John Witala: bass (7); Akira Tana: drums (7); Peter Horvath: piano (8); Gary Brown: bass (8); Leon Joyce Jr.: drums (8); Peter Michael Excovedo: percussion (8).

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Right Groove Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Numbers CD/LP/Track Review Numbers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read The Busker CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Some Other Time" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Etchings in Amber" CD/LP/Track Review Etchings in Amber
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "Buoyancy" CD/LP/Track Review Buoyancy
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Skarkali" CD/LP/Track Review Skarkali
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!