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Every now and then one comes across a vocal session where the style and sound of the vocalist fits perfectly with the play list and the sidemen who back her. That happens with Robin Work's inaugural album. Work has a deep voice with a surprisingly pure tone despite the heaviness. It works very well with tunes of woe, wistfulness and melancholy such as "Ballad of the Sad Young Men". Her rendition is much like Art Pepper's sax interpretation of this seldom recorded classic. On "Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most", Work places her words so carefully among the chords played by Steve Rudolph on piano it's as if she is constructing a house of match sticks, attentive but concerned that one misplaced syllable may result in the house collapsing. This is not carefulness rising out of hesitation or uncertainty, but care to make sure the song is sung just right...and it is. She ends this tune on a perfectly pitched low note. This track is also graced by a lovely bass solo from Paul Langosch.
But this is not an album devoted solely to sad songs reciting sad stories of sad people. "I've Got the World on a String" is a nice well-conceived medium tempo. Again, Work uses her low voice to give this tune a different hearing than one usually gets with this song. On an upbeat "Robbin's Nest", she cleverly scats in a few bars from the "Trolley Song". The Steve Rudolph Trio is especially sensitive to the special demands of Work's style and marvelously accommodates it. This album can be purchased from www.steverudolph.com and www.randlrecords.com.
Track Listing: Medley: This Can't Be Love/Robbin's Nest; Pure Imagination; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; It's Probably Me; Ballad of the Sad Young Men; Medley: Dindi/If You Never Come to Me; Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most; Waltz for Debbie; Tell Me all about It; Some other Spring; I've Got the World on a String
Personnel: Robin Work - Vocals; Steve Rudolph - Piano; Paul Langosch - Bass; Bill Goodwin - Drums
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.