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Nica Carrington: Times Like These

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Nica Carrington: Times Like These
Every once in a while you chance on a singer and think, "This is a find." Some people barely knew that Julie London was a singer—she didn't consider herself one, certainly—but she had a lovely voice, did not embellish the lyrics, told a story, and got out of the way. She was one of those 1950s signers who really never registered, unless you happened to focus on her looks, which distracted from her talent. So now one thinks, "She should have been bigger."

It is tempting to regard Nica Carrington as a throwback to the 1950s, when there were a whole lot of "girl singers" who, like London, never quite moved the needle. They shared an appreciation for the lyric, had no trouble negotiating the changes of a melody, and embraced the song in a sort of mellow, but not quite breathy, or even sultry way. Unlike London, Carrington is not a glamor girl, and that is just as well. The cover art to the CD pictures her through a glass partially obscured by rain. That strikes just the right note. This is music for a rainy afternoon, peaceful, and gentle. Do not reduce it to mood music or something similar, for Times Like These is really more than that. It is a compilation of standards, so if you prefer not to hear them again, Carrington is not for you. On the other hand, if you like the Great American Songbook and figure that what makes the music is artistis ability rather than some garish novelty, you are going to enjoy this recording. A great deal.

Certainly, no one is going to thank Heaven for the pandemic, which apparently concentrated Carrington's attention on her singing. But knowing she is both a pianist and a trumpet player makes the success of the recording a little more comprehensible. She phrases and breathes like a trumpet player, which means, in her case, a singing legato on tunes like "Skylark," and "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" that just drifts evenly over the changes. The rhythm section is terrific, and John Proulx's piano is impeccable. "Angel Eyes" is one of the tunes that some people can listen to repeatedly, and Carrington's version certainly makes the grade, especially the last chorus, where she raises the temperature some. What else? Well, you may think "Shadow of Your Smile" has been done to death. Perhaps so, but if you can listen one more time, Nica Carrington will make it worth your while. You want to bring the intimacy of a club into your music room? This is a good place to start. We will undoubtedly be hearing more good things from Ms Carrington in the future.

Track Listing

Skylark; Left Alone; When Sunny Gets Blue; Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye; We’ll Be Together Again; The Summer Knows; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Angel Eyes; The Shadow of Your Smile; Here’s to Life.

Personnel

Nica Carrington: voice / vocals; John Proulx: piano; Chuck Berghofer: bass, acoustic; Joe La Barbera: drums.

Album information

Title: Times Like These | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self Produced


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