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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 it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.