175

Becca Stevens Band: Weightless

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Becca Stevens Band: Weightless
There is an artistic point where Jacqui Sutton (Billie & Dolly (Toy Blue Typewriter Productions, 2010)), Gretchen Parlato (The Lost and Found (ObliqSound, 2011)) and Norah Jones (Feels Like Home (Blue Note Records, 2004)) intersect, giving rise to Becca Stevens, whose creative arc gains traction in a direction different from, but informed by, those singers. By combining Parlato's coquettish, diaphanous singing style, Sutton's rootsy, organic acoustic approach and Jones' tuneful composing, Stevens charts a course all her own in a spirited new direction.

The Becca Stevens Band is a quartet capable of generating both heat and light when the instruments couple with the vocals, Liam Robinson and Chris Tordini having principle parts. This quartet is supplemented with guitarist Larry Campbell on several tracks and Parlato on the lullaby "No More."

The title song merges all the singing voices in provocative counterpoint that recalls Phish's "Bouncing Around the Room" crossed with The Doobie Brothers' "Black Water," except Stevens and her band give a thoroughly updated vocal treatment compared to those older songs. Jordan Perlson's muscular drumming juxtaposes itself anxiously with the soft delivery of the singer's delicate melody.

Stevens extends this melodious contrapuntal singing to its limit in the very Norah Jones-like "There is a Light That Never Goes Out." Stevens' voice square dances with those of Robinson and Tordini. The single cover on the disc, Seal's "Kiss from a Rose," is perhaps the greatest success of the recital, completely re-harmonized and presented organically. This ranks as one of the most inventive and inspired covers of a modern popular song.

Stevens emerges at an exciting time in jazz vocal music when boundaries are being pushed, reset, and pushed again. Her organic style is exciting and innovative, made even more so by her groundbreaking singing.

Track Listing

Weightless; I'll Notice; There is a Light that Never Goes Out; Traveller's Blessing; The Riddle; Kiss from a Rose; How to Love; Canyon Dust; My Girls; No More; You Can Fight; Each Coming Night.

Personnel

ecca Stevens: vocals, guitar, ukulele, charango; Liam Robinson: accordion, piano, harmonium, chamberlin, vocals; Chris Tordini: bass, vocals; Jordan Perlson: drums, percussion; Gretchen Parlato: vocals (10); Larry Campbell: guitar, cittem (2, 4-6,11).

Album information

Title: Weightless | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.