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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.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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