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.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.