289

Toscha Comeau: This Could Be Love

Samuel Chell By

Sign in to view read count
Toscha Comeau: This Could Be Love "How can you separate the dancer from the dance?" When the poet W.B. Yeats asked this paradoxical, rhetorical question to express the organic, indivisible relation between the artist and his or her creative work, he couldn't have had so-called "contemporary," or "smooth," jazz in mind. There's no shortage of superior musicians paying the rent by playing music with which they sense little personal connection. And while most cities seem to have at least one major radio station devoted to the sub-genre, the music, however competently played, is usually sufficiently bland and faceless to make a Monk fan switch to a C&W station for relief. But in the case of vocalist Toscha Comeaux's This Could Be Love, you'd best not touch that dial too quickly.



No doubt about it, this is a slick, well-produced album, replete with Sanborn-style saxophone riffing, hard- popping funky bass grooves, heavily-accented off-beats, and plenty of sweetening by a "Dream-Girl" supporting chorus. But Comeaux' powerful full-throated instrument never gets smothered in the mix, maintaining a confident yet personal and inviting, vibrant glow throughout. Moreover, even though the textures and production values are immediately suggestive of a "commercial" date, there's more creativity here—in programming as well as performance and production—than at first may meet the ear.



To begin with, Comeaux herself has multi-tracked several of the background vocals, which are tastefully employed, as on the infectious bossa nova strains of "Don't Turn Around" by Peter Yates. The latter is credited with nine of the eleven songs, which together comprise a consistently tuneful yet impressively diverse program. No cheesy string or Yamaha synths here; the music blends Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano ("Never Don't Think") along with churchy B3 and soulful guitar ("Tell Me It's Just a Bad Dream").



Yates' "Sunday in New York" not only leaves the featured singer with some room to scat, stretch out and swing, but is one of several numbers on which the bass lays down an unapologetic walking 4/4. Contributing some retro-hip textures are instruments representing all three sections of a '40s swing band: trumpet, trombone, and sax. The extra firepower is soon deployed to dramatic effect during the salsa strains of Yates' "If This Is Love," on which trumpeter Tom Parmerter gets a chance to test his chops against the full-bodied voice and full-frequencied range of Comeaux, who can seamlessly join her mid-range "power zone" to a soaring soprano register with effortless control.



The double focus on vocalist and composer continues with a jazz waltz ("It's All 'Cause of Loving You"), followed by a flawless hand-off on "When I See That Look" between Comeaux and soprano saxophonist Alain Bradette. Two non-Yates numbers are welcome additions: a lesser-known Bacharach-David tune, "You Can't Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)," and a '40s chestnut associated with Billie Holiday, "Mean to Me." Beginning and ending with a highly percussive, somewhat thunderous and frenzied Latin section, the freshened arrangement threatens momentarily to capsize, but the straight-ahead swinging of the ensemble and the commandeering of Comeaux bring the cruise to a reassuring and satisfying completion.



Based on the recorded evidence, Toscha Comeaux's is a talent that bears close watching. She not only has exceptional pipes and explosive power but the training and solid vocal technique to insure hers is not a gift that is wasted. Add to these strengths an inerrant sense of pitch (she bends notes just enough to keep them alive and interesting) and an undeniable understanding of swing, and you have a young exciting artist on the verge of leaving a major, lasting mark on the contemporary music scene.


Track Listing: If This Could Be Love; Don't Turn Around; You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart); A Day In Paradise; Never Think That I Don't Really Care; Tell Me It's Just A Bad Dream; Sunday In New York; If This Is Love; It's All 'Cause Of Loving You; When I See That Look In Your Eyes; Mean To Me.

Personnel: Toscha Comeaux, Sisaundra Lewis-Reid, Chet Samuel, Meka King: vocals; Rohan Reid, Doug Matthews: bass; Harvey Marshall, Walt Hubbard: drums; Tony Hemmings, Ed Krout, Richard Drexler: keyboards (organ, Rhodes, piano); Rohan Reid, Paulo Carvalho, Ivo Carvalho, Paul Buzin, Jay Owens: guitars; Orlando Sanchez, Aaron Gandia: hand drums; Philip Martin, Alain Bradette, Brian Snapp, Phillip Martin: saxophones; Tom Parmerter, Brian Scanlon, Steve Walters, Don Rogozinski: trumpets; Pat Gullotta, Guillermo Hewitt: trombones; Christian Tamburr: vibes. Ed Krout: arrangements; Rohan Reid: background vocal arrangements; Brian Snapp, Victor Payano: horn arrangements; Mark Mason, Juan Covas: mixing; Ed Krout: recording.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Zenith Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Musings" CD/LP/Track Review Musings
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Aritmia" CD/LP/Track Review Aritmia
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "Manovuotometro" CD/LP/Track Review Manovuotometro
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Back Home" CD/LP/Track Review Back Home
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "Horizon Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Horizon Ahead
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!