Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing vocalist Amanda Carr perform an impromptu duet with the great jazz vocalist Giacomo Gates at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York. Although it was a one tune exposure, I was so impressed by her talent, spirit and onstage charm that I felt compelled to pick up soon. I'm very glad I did.
Soon wastes no time in demonstrating Carr as a vocalist who can burn and cool. The CD kicks off with "Close Your Eyes," a swinging up-tempo vehicle that drives nicely over Carr's nimble lyric weaving. She has terrific rhythmic sense here and throughout the disc. "Easy Street" is a dream street as Carrwith impeccable diction and pitchtakes you there over John Wilkins' tasteful guitar comps and Bronek Suchanek's bass. Arnie Krakowsy's soulful sax sets her up on "Let There Be Love." There's something just so very personableso sweet but not cloyingabout Carr's approach to this regularly treated tune.
Carr, Boston-bred and based, comes from a deep musical family pedigree, mother Nancy Carr is a vocalist and her trumpeter father, Nick Capezuto was a fixture in Beantown for many years. She shines on "If You Could See Me Now," inviting the listener to share. Wilkins' Wes-tinged guitar solo fits so nicely and swings in a beautifully minimalist way here. Carr has a deep sense for lyric and can shade them with the best of them to pull an emotive chord. Check your knees when Carr delivers the lyric, 'the way I feel for you.'
The CD's title track puts Carr out front with trumpeter Rick Hammett's hip ensemble writing, punching out a swinging big band feel. Trombonist Jeff Galindo's nice solo adds shades of Boston's "Boneman," the great Phil Wilson, in a tasteful chorus. Kenny Hadley's drumming is swinging here and throughout the date.
An airy intro opens "Flamingo" and is so nice that the pink pastel beauty can easily be envisioned. The old Sergio Mendes bossa-era hit, "Mais Que Nada," pulses nicely, with Carr singing beautifully in Portuguese. Carr's uncanny ability to work pitch is simply perfect all over "Funny," her highlight on soon. She seems there with you, milking every bit of color out of every note, syllable and phrase. "Squeeze Me" lilts nicely with Hammett's muted trumpet filling nicely. The vamping goes on.
Carr, a very in-demand chanteuse, performs the Great American Songbook regularly, and also occasionally performs a Peggy Lee tribute. "Where Can I Go Without You" is right out of both resources. Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait" is served up with Carr octaving over Suchanek's arco bass. Jobim's "If You Never Come To Me" concludes what is a very solid, if a bit risk-free, offering by an extremely talented, delightfully engaging vocal artist. Amanda Carr isto coin my daughter's phrase"amazable."
Close Your Eyes; Easy Street; Let there Be Love; If You Could See Me Now; Soon; Flamingo; Mais Que Nada; Funny (Not Much); Squeeze Me; Where Can I Go Without You.
Amanda Carr: vocals; John Wilkins: guitar; Bronek Suchanek: bass; Kenny Hadley: drums, percussion; Arnie Krakowsky: tenor saxophone; Jeff Galindo: trombone; Rick Hammett: trumpet and horn arrangements.
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