177

Andrea Baker: Table for One

By

Sign in to view read count
This album is notable some good things and some bad. The bad first, it was one of bassist Andy Simpkins' last sessions before he passed in June of 1999. His solo on If I Were a Bell is a fine testimonial to his stature as a bassist going back to the days of those wonderful Blue Note recordings with The Three Sounds. The good news is that Andrea Baker is accompanied by an outstanding group players of who make this album sparkle by providing more than admirable backing for her vocalizing, in ensemble and as soloists. Another happy event is that the arrangements by Baker and Sandy Megas manage to accommodate equally both the needs of the vocalist and the instrumentalist, a difficult task to achieve.

Alternating between a small group and a big band, Baker shows that she can deal with both romantic ballads and up tempo material. With a nasal sound, sometimes resembling Dinah Washington, other times Eartha Kitt (especially on the up tempo numbers) as well as one of her contemporaries, the very good Stacey Kent, Baker brings to good deal to the vocal table. She shows off her considerable scatting skills, creating a rather unique sound with that nasal quality, on "It Don't Mean a Thing (if It Ain't Got That Swing)". But this track is also notable for some excellent piano playing by the inestimable pianist Gerald Wiggins. The drums of veteran Frank Capp are also heard on the Duke Ellington tune. The under recorded guitarist, Barry Zweig, gets the opportunity to play by himself on "Close Enough for Love" and is Baker's major accompaniment on a poignant "The Folks Who Live on the Hill".

Baker's husband Steve Wilkerson does all the sax solos and is especially important to Baker's soulful rendition of "Black Coffee". The big works hits on all cylinders on such cuts as a barn burning "Avalon", with Ella like scatting from Baker as she exchanges ideas with Steve Wilkerson's alto. This is the highlight track on the album for me. The band is also present on an arresting, upbeat, bouncy Baker rendition of "Dream Dancing" where James Gadson's drums get a strenuous workout.

Although the singer occasionally gets overshadowed by the instrumentalists, this CD has a lot to offer and is recommended. Visit Andrea and Steve's web page at http://www.greenheart.com/steveandandrea.

Tracks:Table for One; It Don't Mean a Thing (if It Ain't Got That Swing*); Dream Dancing; Black Coffee; If I Were a Bell* That Old Black Magic; Close Enough for Love; Avalon; The Folks Who Live on the Hill

Personnel: Andrea Baker - Vocals/Arrangements; Sandy Megas -Arranger/Conductor; Steve Wilkerson - Alto/Baritone Sax; Ed Czack, Gerald Wiggins* - Piano; James Gadson - Drums/ Percussion; Jennifer Hall - Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet; Gary Halopoff - Trumpet; Terry Harrington - Tenor Sax/Clarinet; Jim Quam - Alto Sax/Flute; Ray Reed - Alto Sax/Clarinet/Flute; Andy Simpkins - Bass; Greg Solomon - Trombone; Barry Zweig - Guitar; Frank Capp* - Drums

| Record Label: Dane Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Concerto para Moviola" CD/LP/Track Review Concerto para Moviola
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Duet" CD/LP/Track Review Duet
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Rising Colossus" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Colossus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Andando el Tiempo" CD/LP/Track Review Andando el Tiempo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 26, 2016
Read "Ghosts Appearing Through The Sound" CD/LP/Track Review Ghosts Appearing Through The Sound
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Bombogenic" CD/LP/Track Review Bombogenic
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!

Buy it!