San Francisco-area vocalist Barbara Adamson's approach to jazz is straightforward and straight-ahead. Her debut recording, Now Is the Time , is a relaxed, confident effort that demonstrates the (too-often overlooked) value of restraint and moderation in jazz singing.
Relying on a clear, expressive voice and dramatic reading of lyrics, Adamson, backed by a fine trio (plus occasional sax, trumpet and flute), puts her personal stamp on a dozen nicely arranged standards. She's equally at ease on ballads and up-tempo numbers, and proves herself a capable scatter on a worldless romp through Miles Davis' "Boplicity." And while we've all heard the likes of "April in Paris," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "You Go to My Head," and "Softly in a Morning Sunrise," many times before, Adamson, makes this familiar journey a worthwhile one. A promising debut from a singer who knows that, more often than not, less is more.
Barbara Adamson, vocals; Marshall Otwell, piano; Stan Poplin, bass; Steve Robertson; drums; Fred Berry, trumpet; Paul Contos, flute; Donny McCaslin, tenor sax.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.