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Originally from the Bay Area but now a longtime New York singer, Roz Corral makes her recording debut on Telling Tales, which does a fine job of showcasing her ability to swing, emote effectively on ballads, and provide a well-mixed set list. She also gets by with a lot of help from her musician friends. Each band member has superior credentials and most have multiple albums available under their own names.
Pianist and arranger Bruce Barth contributes some sparkling charts to this album. Trombonist Steve Davis is the primary instrumentalist on Dave Frishberg's "Wheelers and Dealers," both in his solo and his ongoing accompanyment of the vocal. Alto saxman Steve Wilson also delivers a rare clarinet solo on "Anyone Can Whistle." New York-area guitarist John Hart is heard throughout with tasty solos. Bassist Larry Grenadier has been long associated with pianist Brad Mehldau's group, and drummer Jeff Ballard was previously a Chick Corea group member.
The album features several inventive changes. "I'll Never Be The Same" is performed up-tempo with some urgent piano work from Barth, and the usually downplayed "Anyone Can Whistle" is given a bounce treatment that works, including a Grenadier bass solo. "I've Got No Strings" has long been associated with two figures; Corral's straight-ahead version gets rid of previous "strings" from the animated figure in the Disney Pinocchio film and the early Barbra Streisand novelty number.
In Neil Tesser's liner notes, Corral notes that her primary influence is Carmen McRae. To an extent, these performances evidence some similarity to the 1950s and '60s McRae ouevre, notably on the ballads, before melisma became a trademark of her later career.
Track Listing: 1. Too Close For Comfort; 2. Wheelers and Dealers; 3. Little Girl Blue; 4. I'll Never Be The Same; 5. Anyone Can Whistle; 6. Let's Face The Music And Dance; 7. I've Got No Strings; 8. Change Partners; 9. Out Of This World; 10. Say It Isn't So; 11. Something's Gotta Give.
Personnel: Roz Corral, vocals; Bruce Barth, piano; Larry Grenadier, bass; Jeff Ballard, drums; John Hart, guitar; Steve Wilson, alto saxophone and clarinet; Steve Davis, trombone. Co-produced by Roz Corral & Bruce Barth.