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The 1970s was a decade of fusion in jazz, and the '80s saw a return to tradition. But there's absolutely no doubt we're now in an era when female vocalists dominate the jazz charts. Unfortunately, the bandwagon effect created by the success of Diana Krall, Norah Jones and Jane Monheit has gotten a little out of hand. It least that's the way it seems when sorting through the stacks of promotional CDs and press releases sent out on behalf of aspiring jazz vocalists hoping for a review.
Often these CDs reveal singers not quite ready to record, or who lack that special something that would set them apart. But every so often, you discover a CDand a voicethat demands your undivided attention.
Timeless is that kind of CD, showcasing a singer with a powerhouse voice, plenty of range and the ability to take a familiar standard and illuminate it from a fresh angle. Anita Rosamond has been popular on the St. Louis scene since the early 1990s, and Timeless captures her in fine form, backed by talented musicians: trumpeter Jim Manley, saxophonist Lew Winer II, bassist Eric Warren, drummer Ron Carr, and Greg Worzel on keyboards and assorted instruments. They add solid support throughout, and Manley and Winer's solo turns add special energy and excitement.
Rosamond handles familiar standards such as "They Say It's Wonderful and "I've Got the World on a String with a relaxed, swinging touch. She also has a special affinity for Bacharach and Porter tunesturning in strong readings of "Walk on By and "Night and Day. But what makes this CD special is Rosamond's versatility. Her soul-drenched reading of the Aretha Franklin hit "Until You Come Back to Me absolutely shines, and her take on Robert Palmer's "Every Kinda People hits an immediate, hypnotic groove. There's even a gentle nod to country on Rosamond's own composition "Take Him Home to Mama.
Only one complaint. Rosamond focuses solely on vocals on Timeless, but she's a talented keyboard player as well. Maybe next time, Anita?
Track Listing: They Say It's Wonderful; Night and Day; Timeless; I've Got the World on a String; Walk on By;
Nice and Easy; Come In from the Rain; Midnight at the Oasis; Until You Come back to me; In
Your Arms; Take Him Home to Mama; Every Kind of People; Almost Like Being in Love.
Personnel: Anita Rosamond: vocals; Jim Manley: trumpet; Lew Winer III: saxophone; Eric Warren: bass;
Ron Carr: drums; Greg Worzel: piano, guitar,bass, drums, percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.