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Pam Bricker/Wayne Wilentz/Jim West: U-topia

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A transplanted Massachusetts native, Pam Bricker has been performing in the Washington, D. C. area since 1981 making a name for herself in the Nation's capitol. In addition to a solo act, she was also part of the well-known vocal group, Mad Romance. Along the way, Bricker shared the stage with such jazz luminaries as Louis Bellson and D. C. jazz institutions, Charlie Byrd and Buck Hill.

Sharing the bill with Wayne Wilentz and Jim West, her latest album, U-Topia, is named after the Washington, D. C. U Street watering hole where Bricker has a regular gig. The CD offers a choice and extensive eclectic play list of classic standards, Brazilian jazz, bop anthems, traditional pop and a song or tune made popular by rock performers as well as some Bricker originals. More important than the agenda is that Pam Bricker has the vocal wherewithal to stay on top of the material irrespective of the genre. She is tender and romantic on "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" as her father Peter Bricker does the Tommy Dorsey trombone. Turning to the Joni Mitchell/Charlie Mingus biographical farewell to Lester Young, "Goodbye Porkpie Hat", Bricker's interpretation pushes the right emotional buttons that the composers built into this tune. "Superstar", memorialized by Karen Carpenter, is sweet and melancholy and is one of the highlights of the album and also features imaginative piano ruminations by Wilentz. Bricker stretches out with a Vocalese style rendition of Thelonious Monk's "I Mean You" to which Jon Hendricks added lyrics. This is one of the few places where Bricker turns to scatting as she trades ideas with drummer Jim West.

Bricker is blessed with perfect pitch, clear diction, more than average range and a knowledgeable sense of the lyrics and feel for the beat all packaged in a clear, cool set of vocal pipes. These attributes are used to full advantage on this fine vocal album, which is highly recommended.


Track Listing: Lucky to Be Me; E Preciso Perdoar; Overjoyed; It's Not too Soon; Goodbye Porkpie Hat; Home at Last; Autumn Leaves; Coffee Song; I Mean You; Lover Come Back; Retrato Em Branco e Preto; It's all Right with Me; Up from the Skies; Superstar; Ornithology; I'm Getting Sentimental over You

Personnel: Pam Bricker - Vocals; Wayne Wilentz - Keyboards/Vocals; Jim West - Drums; Peter Bricker -Trombone

Title: U-topia | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Backstreet

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