Larra Skye is an extremely talented young woman. Her diverse musical and non-musical background includes fronting a folk-rock band, learning trombone and guitar, and developing her writing skills at Canada's Ryerson University School of Journalism. Hers is not necessarily a jazz background, and we should not expect all of her recordings to be in the jazz vein.
That said, for her debut recording, The World Disappears, she assembled a crack group of excellent Canadian jazz musiciansincluding Adrian Farrujia (piano), Eric Boucher (piano), Jim Vivian (bass), Kevin Brow (drums), Bob Brough (tenor sax), Kevin Turcotte (trumpet and flugelhorn), Geoff Young (guitar), and Matt Stevens (guitar)who jazz up the proceedings considerably.
But, for better or for worse, Skye is the centerpiece of this record. Her voice lacks the edge necessary for her to be a great jazz singer. She lacks the passion and the sexiness of an Ella Fitzgerald or a Bessie Smith. In fact, her voice can sound downright amateur at times. After the first three tunes, the record becomes monotonous.
The album does have its bright spots. The music borders on smooth jazz at times, but the players are good enough to keep it interesting. Brough's opening solo on "Whisper A Secret captures the essence and the groove of the tune. The pianists accompany Skye very well, never soloing outright but leading her along the correct path. And Skye's compositional talents really show through. She is an intelligent writer, composing poppy tunes that have an adult feel to them.
As for The World Disappears, I would recommend waiting to hear Skye's sophomore effort, whenever it comes out. She is obviously very talented, but jazz is not the best idiom for her to express herself. She may be better suited to folk or pop, or even just focusing on writing for others. But hey, every artist experiences growing pains. At just 22, Skye has a long time to figure everything out.
Track Listing: Whisper A Secret; Turn Up the Stars; The Only One I'll Mull; Down on Your Luck; Open Up
Your Eyes; Make Believe; Everything; Love Is; Pretty Little Baby; Always Rolling Seven; The
Personnel: Larra Skye: vocals;
Adrean Farrugia: piano (2-7,10,11);
Eric Boucher: piano (1,8,9), organ (8);
Jim Vivian: upright bass;
Kevin Brow: drums;
Bob Brough: tenor saxophone;
Kevin Turcotte: trumpet, flugelhorn;
Geoff Young: electric guitar (1,8), classical guitar (2);
Matt Stevens: acoustic and electric guitar (7).
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!