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Carri Coltrane: the first time

Jim Santella By

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Lewis Nash and Ron Carter provide hefty wallpaper for Carri Coltrane’s session of love ballads. The sliding ring of Carter’s bass and crisp snare drum figures from Nash’s kit punctuate the singer's phrases and provide continuity. Guitarist Mark Lucas, along with piano and congas, fills out the ensemble and adds a Brazilian flavor to several tracks.

Carrie Thompson sang professionally from the age of nine with her father. The singer's career, like that of many others, moved into pop and rock music. In her early thirties, however, Thompson made a decision to honor the jazz genre that had been influencing her and adopted the name she uses today, out of respect for legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. Two songs by Miles Davis appear on this, her first Numoon album, and the liner notes mention inspiration coming from Keith Jarrett & Bill Evans as well. Her partner in forming Numoon Disc Company, singer/songwriter Gene McDaniels, has penned sensitive lyrics for this session to suit Coltrane's ballad approach. They're the kinds of statements that everyone wants to hear, and that stay on your mind long after the song is over. Phrases such as "I’m every woman, and I need something real" or "that’s the time I feel like makin’ dreams come true" and "I’ll follow you down and sleep in your mind, ‘til I realize the meaning of! my being" bring a special meaning to the lyrics.

"Blue in Green," the lovely piece composed by Miles Davis and/or Bill Evans, opens the ballad session with strong support from the ensemble. "Freddie Freeloader" (with lyrics by Gene McDaniels, titled "Life") closes the session in a lively manner and with articulate vocalese filling the room. In between, the other eight tracks offer smooth jazz and expressive ballads. Besides guitar and piano, the soprano saxophone of Matt Langley serves to offer instrumental interludes and romantic fills for the vocalist. It seems the soprano sax has taken on the role these past ten years of providing romantic cries and swirling melodies as accompaniment to sung lyrics. Langley's tone is overly flexible in his attempt to portray a vocalized melody, and the result is somewhat sloppy.

Carri Coltrane has a natural feel for jazz phrasing and has surrounded herself with a superb ensemble. The singer’s first time out with the Numoon label is a pleasant listen and should appeal to a broad audience.


Track Listing: Sacred Silent Prayer; Love Me Where I Live; Don

Personnel: Carri Coltrane- vocals; Mark Lucas- acoustic guitar; Ron Carter- bass; Lewis Nash- drums; Ted Branaco- piano; Mayra Casales- congas, percussion; Matt Langley- soprano saxophone; Strings: Charlie Ernst- conductor, Maynard Goldman, John Harrison, Jason Horowitz, Greg Vitale, Jim Orient, John Baldwin, Sheila Vitale, Mark Paxson, Robert Curtis, Laura Jackson- violin; Jennifer Sterling, Graybert Beacham, Joli Wu- viola; David Finch, Theresa Borsodi- cello.

Title: the first time | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Numoon


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