It's amazing that out of the clutter of an industrial urban center like Chicago, a voice as serene and unruffled as Alison Ruble's can exist. For her debut recording, the opulent vocalist teams up with guitarist extraordinaire/producer John McLean for an intriguing journey through a collection of timeless American classics.
The song selection, a mix of standard jazz fare and modern pop numbers, seems to suit Ruble's understated approach. McLean's acoustic guitar and stripped-down arrangements present fresh takes on the familiar and not-so-familiar. The opening "Interlude" invokes a Brazilian vibe, while Cole Porter's "So In Love" has a subdued hypnotic effect courtesy of McLean's droning accompaniment. The funky groove on "If I Had You" shows off Ruble's swinging capabilities. "Skylark" floats along with a carefree momentum. Jim Gailloreto's well-placed alto flute fills complement Ruble's unhurried phrasing and McLean's sympathetic comping. "Always Something There to Remind Me" opens with percussionist Geraldo De Oliveira's fine-tuned congas before Ruble explores the familiar Burt Bacharach staple.
The tension-building, folk-rock sensibilities of "Lazy Afternoon" contrast nicely with the straight-ahead, strolling duet between Ruble and bassist Larry Kohut on "It's Magic." Kohut's playing throughout is inventive while maintaining solid support.
Pianist Jo Ann Daugherty adds a lyrical presence, especially on the sensitive piano/voice duet "This Nearly Was Mine." Drummer Tim Davis provides a solid, low-profile pocket.
This Is A Bird is an impressive debut from a fresh voice worthy of wider recognition.
Track Listing: Interlude; So In Love; If I Had You; Skylark; Always Something There To Remind Me; We Kiss In A Shadow; Lazy
Afternoon; It?s Magic; Something In The Way She Moves; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; This Nearly Was Mine.
Personnel: Alison Ruble: vocals; John McLean: guitar; Jo Ann Daugherty: piano; Jim Gailloreto: soprano saxophone, alto
flute; Larry Kohut: string bass, chapman stick; Tim Davis: drums; Geraldo De Oliveira: percussion.
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy. So music and jazz specifically have been a part of me since I was born. I love and perform in all styles of music from around the world. Improvisation in jazz is what drew me in, and still does as well as other genres that feature improvisation. A group of great musicians expressing themselves as one is the hallmark of great jazz and in fact all great music.