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"Simply Natural." The song's title describes what Carla Cook is all about and what makes her such a thrilling vocalist. She's genuine. Both her scat singing and her lyric interpretations result in a relaxed atmosphere where everyone can sit back and enjoy being a part of it. Accompanists Bruce Barth and Cyrus Chestnut are in fine form. The program's song selection offers a wide variety that allows Cook's natural beauty to shine through. She's crossed generations by combining classics such as "Tulip or Turnip" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" with "Scarborough Fair," "Watermelon Man" and Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Strong Man."
The combination of scat singing with soulful lyric interpretations makes Cook's natural delivery take control. I find this album atop my ten-best list for the year. Must a jazz singer scat? I think so. It's like asking, "Should a jazz singer use E-flat, E, F, F-sharp and G?" Carla Cook sings accurately, with a natural swing, and creatively. What places her session above most others, is the natural manner she brings to the performance. This is straight-ahead jazz that everyone can turn to when they need to hear a friendly smile.
Track Listing: Simply Natural; Tulip or Turnip; Weak for the Man; Watermelon Man; Strong Man; Something 'Bout Believing; Scarborough Fair; Are You With Me; Summer (Estat'); Still Gotta Thing for You; I Can't Give You Anything But Love.
Personnel: Carla Cook- vocals ; Cyrus Chestnut- piano, Fender Rhodes; Bruce Barth- piano; Kenny Davis- bass; Billy Kilson- drums; Steve Kroon- percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.