All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Toscha Comeau: This Could Be Love


Sign in to view read count
"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.

Title: This Could Be Love | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Zenith Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Here on Earth" CD/LP/Track Review Here on Earth
by Doug Collette
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Hanukkah" CD/LP/Track Review Hanukkah
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Rome" CD/LP/Track Review Rome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Sonic Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Sonic Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Light Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Light Blue
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 10, 2018