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Heather Bambrick: It's About Time

Dan McClenaghan By

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The opening tune on It's About Time, "(Sing) Joyspring," had me savoring the snappy horn chart which embraces Canadian vocalist Heather Bambrick's technically perfect chops, a perfection that doesn't eschew organic ebullience and joy, suffused as it is with a hip, buoyant, guileless sauciness. The second song, "That's Falling in Love"—written, as it turns out, by Bambrick and Keith Power—made me think I'd let a Cole Porter tune slip under my radar somehow. Let's call that an auspicious one-two punch of an opening salvo, leading into a disc-long combination of original, well-crafted musicianship.

It's About Time, Bambrick's debut, glows—arrangements (especially those horns), song selection, songwriting on Bambrick's part, and the singer's very assured perfect pitch vocal delivery.

Bambrick takes some delicious risks, taking on the much-covered "Stormy Weather," rendering the tune fittingly dark and ominous, and making it sound like her own; and also the elastic-lined vocal on Cole Porter's classic "Love for Sale." Bambrick is first and foremost a jazz singer in the mode of Ella Fitzgerald or Rosemary Clooney; but having said that, the song that really kicks this disc over the top is her cover of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"

I'm not a Prince fan. His Purple Highness persona and that "Artist Formerly Known As..." malarky seemed a tad pretentious, so I've never given an album of his a fair spin; but this is a song! and Heather Bambrick's take on it sounds as if it could have been introduced by Wolfman Jack on XERB Soul Radio out of Baja California in the late sixties (with the Wolfman wondering whether the singer's peaches were sweet, of course). A plaintive saxophone leads in, then Bambrick croons sad and sweet and soulful—truly classic! How this song—and the whole CD, for that matter—isn't jumping up a radio chart somewhere is a mystery.

This one's a winner!

Visit Heather Bambrick on the web at www.heatherbambrick.com .

Track Listing: (Sing) Joyspring, That's Falling in Love, Maybe, Love for Sale, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, Night Night, Smiley, Stormy Weather, How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?, Aren't I Cute?, That's All, Let Me Fish off Cape St. Mary's

Personnel: Heather Bambrick--vocals; David Braid--piano; Michael McClennan--bass; Davide DiRenzo--drums; David Occhipinti--guitar; Mike Murley--tenor and soprano saxophones; Peter Smith--tenor saxophone; Chase Sanborn--trumpet; William Carn--trombone

Title: It's About Time | Year Released: 2004

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