The heralded arrival of any new singing sensation is oftentimes met with caution, but in the case of Abigail Riccards' When The Night Is New the total packageher voice and the musicis one that truly deserves attention.
Riccards has gained notoriety since moving to New York in 2003as a semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2004, performing with some of the best in jazz, locally and for the troops in the Middle East. With a gorgeous voice that's filled with warmth and poise, and a style that equals celebrated peers Jane Monheit and Diana Krall, Riccards sings with genuineness without mimicking the great singers who have come before her.
Riccards is in fine company with David Berkman (piano), Ben Allison (bass), Ron Horton (trumpet) and others. The songs consist of standards and popular songs (including a unique cover of Sting's "I Was Brought to My Senses ) with classic jazz vocals in a contemporary setting. Riccards' voice is finely crafted, infused with grace and confidence on the opening ballad "But Beautiful, or bringing some sassy styling on "East of the Sun.
The snazzy arranging of some classics also keeps things fresh. The tasty horn section on "East Of the Sun enhances the swing. The oriental-pattern of the acoustic bass on "The Very Thought of You gives the tune a new and playful demeanor. Take your pick from the bass/percussion on "If I Should Lose You or the woodwind colors on "I Didn't Know What Time It Was. They all mesh perfectly with Riccards' sumptuous voice.
Whether the tunes get down and funky on "It Might As Well Be Spring or heartthrob the feel of the blues on "Left Alone, Riccards sings as if she knows the material intimately. And when it's all said and done the proof exists in the package: the songs, the music and the striking voice of a talented new singer who shines brightly.
Track Listing: But Beautiful; East of the Sun; The Very Thought of You; You Don't Know What Love Is; The Thrill is Gone; If I Should Lose You; It Might As Well Be Spring; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Left Alone; Just One of Those Things; I Was Brought to My Senses; I'll Be Seeing You.
Personnel: Abigail Riccards: vocals; David Berkman: piano, organ; Ben Allison: bass; Matt Wilson: drums; Adam Kolker: woodwinds; Ron Horton: trumpet, flugelhorn; Lage Lund: guitar; Rogerio Boccato: percussion.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.