131

Carla White: The Sweetest Sounds

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Her breathy alto voice sets up a romantic scene for this session of standards. Carla White creates a particularly impressive scene every time she scat sings her way through one of these favorite tunes. Alongside Lew Tabackin, Dean Johnson and Peter Madsen, she's the agile instrumentalist, weaving her voice among their assertive lines. Straight-ahead jazz is timeless. With her ensemble trading fours and interacting seamlessly, White basks in the freedom to be herself.

Not quite as effective on slow, steamy, cabaret-styled ballads, the singer chooses to cast pitch accuracy to the four winds. Pop and R&B, as well, place the singer in a situation where she creates a fair amount of tension through her subtle dissonances. Her original "But I Was Wrong," for example, oozes a charming, contemporary spirit. White's lyrics talk of bittersweet romance and common sense. However, the singer's delivery goes awry. While it's true that interpersonal relationships can sometimes leave you feeling off-pitch, that interpretive spirit is not entirely obvious here. "Alone Together" offers a clearer example, since the piece is presented as a vocal/bass duet. When scat singing beside Johnson, she's a melodic partner with bouncy, carefree lines that remind us how effective jazz can be when improvised. When White's interpreting the song's lyrics, however, a moody cabaret atmosphere pervades the room. It's a style of singing that lends itself more to storytelling than to musical beauty.

Speaking her lines over the hip beat of congas and a wavering bass, White introduces "Love For Sale" with frank drama. The song's theme comes along with more breathy, spoken word interpretation. By the time her pianist joins and White reverts to scat singing, she's got the listening audience in her grasp. It's not the usual take on this familiar standard. White finishes the piece half singing and half speaking. Her unusual choice of pitches when half singing, however, falls short of the mark. Instead of twisting the lyric meaningfully here and there, the singer's unique spirit becomes a distraction.

Accompanied by an excellent ensemble, Carla White presents an out-of-the-ordinary scenario. Where does this unique spirit come from? From within, of course, but there are influencing factors. She's studied jazz history and its substance through recordings. The singer has traveled the world, exploring various cultures. Her studies with Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh seem to have made the greatest impact. Hear for yourself. Three songs from the album are represented at her web site .


Track Listing: Midnight Sun; This Can

Personnel: Carla White- vocals; Peter Madsen- piano; Dean Johnson- bass; Tom Rainey- drums; Lew Tabackin- tenor saxophone; Steve Berrios- percussion.

| Record Label: DIW | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Written in the Rocks" CD/LP/Track Review Written in the Rocks
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 8, 2016
Read "Born In An Urban Ruin" CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Mike Jacobs
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth
by Doug Collette
Published: August 15, 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!