4

Janice Borla Group: Promises to Burn

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Janice Borla Group: Promises to Burn The artist title is a hint: "The Janice Borla Group." Borla is a vocalist with a reputation for taking chances as evidenced on her three previous recordings, all released on Tall Grass records, From Every Angle (2006), Agents of Change (2003) and Lunar Octave (1996). What she effectively does on the current Promises to Burn is elevate jazz vocals from the realm of vocalist with rhythm section and tone color support to a fully integrated instrumental ensemble not unlike vocalist Tierney Sutton's approach with her Tierney Sutton Band. What this takes from Borla's part are chops and chops she has to spare. Her voice is warm and pliant, capable of everything from a low croon to high fireworks.

While it is okay to have a fully capable voice, without a sense of repertoire. Song choice is often a sticking point when putting a recording project together. Songs that are too familiar often make for "just one more collection of standards," a problem identified by critic Scott Yanow in his The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide and dealt with in his "Ten Songs That Should Be Avoided" (yes, "My Funny Valentine" is one of these). Gratefully, this is not a problem with Borla's offering. Quite to the contrary, Borla selects eight compositions that are anything but run-of-the-mill.

Borla and her guitar-based rhythm section deliver round and polished performances geared toward showing off both Borla's impressive scat and vocalese capabilities as well as guitarist John McLean's solo and comping talents. The disc is opened with a Bill Evans/Karen Gallinger composition, "Funkarello," that features a wordless vocal duet introduction between Borla and bassist Bob Bowman. Borla warms up Joey Calderazzo's "Midnight Voyage" which is gently augmented with Art Davis' softly round trumpet tone. Borla's wordless vocals on Lennie Tristano's "Lennie's Pennies" fully transform into a supple and precise musical instrument playing in concert with Davis' muted horn and McLean's softened tones. The scat solo is well conceived and executed, Borla never repeating herself.

The two best known pieces are a laconic and ironically delivered "You Don't Know What Love Is" and a slow and deliberate "If You Could See Me Now." Borla and her fine band are expertly tuned and thoroughly schooled in the effective assimilation of vocals into the egalitarian environment of the jazz ensemble.


Track Listing: Funkallero; Midnight Voyage; Some Other Time; Lennie’s Pennies; Silver Hollow; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Runferyerlife; If You Could See Me Now.

Personnel: anice Borla: vocals; Scott Robinson: tenor saxophone, flute; Art Davis: trumpet, flugelhorn; John McLean: guitars; Bob Bowman: bass; Jack Mouse: drums.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Behind the Vibration" CD/LP/Track Review Behind the Vibration
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Algorithmic Society" CD/LP/Track Review Algorithmic Society
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Happy Madness" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Madness
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 7, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!