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 Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Real Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Real Talk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 20, 2016
Read "Mancera #5" CD/LP/Track Review Mancera #5
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "The Duo - Live!" CD/LP/Track Review The Duo - Live!
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "El Changüí Majadero" CD/LP/Track Review El Changüí Majadero
by James Nadal
Published: August 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!