5

Brenda Earle Stokes: Right About Now

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Brenda Earle Stokes: Right About Now Is Brenda Earle Stokes primarily a vocalist, a composer, or a pianist? That's an unanswerable question if ever there was one. The marketplace typically forces artists to list their chief credential first, making it easier to categorize and pigeonhole them, but that's a problem for Stokes; she's equally talented in all three areas, as demonstrated throughout Right About Now.

This album marks Stokes' return to recording after a five year hiatus. During that time, her life, outlook, and approach to music evolved and settled into a new space. Marriage, the birth of a child, and the passage of time all managed to alter and deepen her perspective, but Stokes' longtime fans need not worry about things being too different. She still has that same attractive sound, with a gentle-yet-weighted voice and playing style, and she still uses the three-pronged approach to song presentation that worked on Songs For A New Day (Allsheneeds, 2009), delivering originals, a classic or two, and contemporary fare; she just does so with greater ease, comfort, and emotional range.

The album opens with a bluesy odd-metered original that's firm in conviction ("It's High Time"). That initial sign of strength is then washed away by the wistful "In September," a tale of a romance with a summer-long lifespan. Egberto Gismonti's "Water Into Wine," featuring Stokes-penned lyrics, follows, proving to be the most affecting song on the program. A sense of longing, obsession and desire all come through during this mesmerizing and heart-wrenching number.

Stokes goes on to visit all sorts of other places across the nine tracks that follow. Her wordless vocals gleefully bound along during the sprightly, Brazilian-based "Baiao Em Minha Cabeca," snazzy swing surfaces in the form of Joe Jackson's "Got The Time," and Stokes looks at the many faces of love on "(Meant) For You," "Everything I Love," and "Let My Love Open The Door." All of those pieces manage to make an impression, but "The Birthday Song," which finds her mulling over life as it exists at the age of thirty-three, is more emotionally potent than the rest.

The crew that Stokes works with seems tailor-made for her brand of music. Bassist Matt Aronoff and drummer Jordan Perlson balance firmness and sensitivity in their rhythmic pursuits, guitarist Steve Cardenas is a wonderful colorist, and saxophonist Joel Frahm is a man for all moods. Together, this collection of musicians makes for a great team that helps Stokes document life as she knows it and sees it on Right About Now.

Track Listing: It's High Time; In September; Water Into Wine; The Letters On The Page; Baiao Em Minha Cabeca; (Meant) For You; Everything I Love; Right About Now; She Sings; The Birthday Song; Got The TIme; Let My Love Open The Door.

Personnel: Brenda Earle Stokes: piano, vocals, rhodes, triangle; Matt Aronoff: bass; Jordan Perlson: drums; Steve Cardenas: guitar; Joel Frahm: saxophone.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Magenta Label Group


Shop

More Articles

Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Glare of the Tiger CD/LP/Track Review Glare of the Tiger
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2017
Read From Two Balconies CD/LP/Track Review From Two Balconies
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Enter the PlusTet" CD/LP/Track Review Enter the PlusTet
by Troy Collins
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "New Jazz Standards, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review New Jazz Standards, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Chamber Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Chamber Jazz
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Christmastime in New Orleans" CD/LP/Track Review Christmastime in New Orleans
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Aerials" CD/LP/Track Review Aerials
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: April 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT 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!