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When Nashville is mentioned, jazz, especially jazz vocalizing, is not the first thing that comes to mind - - in fact, it's likely to come to mind at all for most. Pearson comes from and works out of the country musical capitol of the world, and has been doing so for some time now. With this her first album, she may be driving a small wedge in the monopoly country music enjoys in that city.
There's no ensemble playing on the album. Each tune has Pearson accompanied by just one instrument, ergo the title <|>You and I|>. With this technique, Pearson has no where to hide, her vocalizing is right out there on the line and she comes off very well. Most of the tracks are ballads. Her duet with drummer Steve Davis "Thou Swell" is the closest thing to an up tempo tune on the album and is as imaginative an arrangement as you're going to hear of this Rodgers/ Hart chestnut. On "The More I See You", it's the piano of Lynn Ariale which backs Pearson's contemplative version of the Mack Gordon/Harry Warren tune written for the 1945 film <|>Diamond Horseshoe|>. One of the album's highlights is the hushed toned performance of "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" with John Hart's guitar the sole backing for Pearson. It's a sonata for voice and guitar. Lovers of this tune will see in Pearson's version some of Sheila Jordan's 1977 seminal interpretation made with bassist Arild Andersen. Veteran bassist Harvie Swartz (who has worked often with Jordan) takes center stage with Pearson as they wander through "How Long Has This Been Going on?". Pearson's take on this tune as much as any, crystallizes her thorough understanding of the lyrics of the song she is singing and the ability to convey that meaning to the listener. The interplay between Pearson and Swartz on this cut is so good, it is eerie. In contrast to the mood created by "How Long...", "My Funny Valentine" with Lynne Arriale's piano once more in tow, comes across very brightly, even though like all other tracks, it is sung in slow ballad style. Pianist Fred Hersch joins with Pearson on a quirky reading of Paul Desmond's classic "Take Five" and an endearing "Over the Rainbow."
"Contemplative", "introspective", "melancholy" are descriptors which come to mind when listening to this album. Think of an overcast, chilly day with a slow drizzle interrupted from time to time with a slow momentary clearing and you will have a mental picture of this album..an album which is highly recommended.
TracksLazy Afternoon; The More I See You; Take Five; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life; I Am Yours/You Are Mine; Thou Swell; You and I; In Your Arms; How Long Has This Been Going On?; My Funny Valentine; I Can't Believe; Over the RainbowPersonnel
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.