Welcome to Low Standards. That comment was not meant to be quizzical. It just goes to show that Steve Shapiro and Pat Bergeson have a sense of humour that blessed them when coming up with a name for their record. That is the only part of the package that is "low", the music travels a well-described path made all the more definitive by the musicians and the arrangements.
The quartet which is rounded off by Doug Weiss on bass and Jeff Williams on drums, features singer Annie Sellick and tenor saxophonist Scott Kreitzer, who help extend the parameters. Sellick has a supple, pliant expression and Kreitzer has the ability to dig deep and come up with some impassioned permutations.
Besides originals, the band picks on Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, Wes Montgomery and even Jackson Browne. And while there is a mellow air that wafts across nicely enough, there is a stronger wind that carries the moment as it does on "Four on Six. Shapiro on vibraphone and Weiss on bass set up the tempo, Kreitzer essays a hard métier diving in and pushing the momentum. Shapiro adds the glow which Bergeson carries with a buoyant crispness. An impressive ballad steps up on "Please Be Early, the mood warm and earthy, while "Small Wonders shimmers with its bossa beat. When it comes time for "Love Killing Lies, Sellick infers a poignant sadness. And she has a way with standards, never decrying from their innate sensitivity.
Diversity pays dividends.
Track Listing: How Deep is the Ocean?; End of the Road; You Don
Personnel: Steve Shapiro--vibraphone; Pat Bergeson--guitar, harmonica; Doug Weiss--bass; Jeff Williams--drums; Annie Sellick--vocals; Scott Kreitzer--tenor saxophone