You know those stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks moments that only music can elicit? Those oh-so-rare occurrences where sound and intention hypnotize, leaving a permanent mark on the soul? This writer experienced one of those sonic epiphanies in hearing Heather Bambrick's enthralling version of "Far From The Home I Love." It's a song that I've been relatively indifferent about in the past, but Bambrick changed that with her take. She made a convert out of me.
If Bambrick's name is new to you and you're usually in the know when it comes to top drawer vocalists, you might be wondering why you haven't heard it before. Rest assured, it has nothing to do with her talent. She's the real deal in every way, so it's probably due to career diversification. Bambrick is something of a vocal polymath, with notable credits in voice acting, music education, radio broadcasting, and live performance filling up her time and portfolio. She's a serious known quantity in all of those realms in her native Canada, but that choice of geographic location coupled with her decision to split her time between so many pursuits has kept her under the radar with much of the jazz set below the 49th parallel. That's a pity, as she has much to offer.
You'll Never Know is Bambrick's third proper solo dateshe's shared billing elsewhere and appeared on record as a member of The Beehive Singers and Broadsway (yes, that's spelled correctly)and it's a winner through and through. She presents fourteen tracks that span styles and worlds, touching on everything from pop to jazz and theatre to folk music. The program includes low key lovelies like the title track and "A Time For Love," a Dave Frishberg-worthy Bambrick original"I Don't Mind A Bit"that pokes fun at the shortcomings of one's true love, blithe swingers like "Get Happy," and even a folk find from Newfoundland in the form of "Petty Harbour Bait Skiff." Her voice is a paragon of clarity in each situation and she always knows how to get her point across in the perfect way, never overselling or underplaying an idea.
While Bambrick logically draws focus throughout, she works with a crew of Toronto-based heavies equally deserving of recognition. The biggest shout-outs go to pianist Mark Kieswetter, who serves as her support system and musical confidante, and trumpeter Chase Sanborn and saxophonist John Johnson, who deliver solid solos and obbligato dressing at various points throughout. But everybody onboard does a fine job shaping these songs. You'll Never Know is simply a marvelous musical mélange, unified by the talents of Heather Bambrick and her trusted band.
Track Listing: I Only Have Eyes For You; Lovers In A Dangerous Time; I Can’t See For Lookin’; Never Never Land; How Does It Feel?; Get Happy; Far From The Home I Love; Dedicated To You; I Don’t Mind A Bit; You’ll Never Know; Surrey With The Fringe On Top; A Time For Love; My Ship; Petty Harbour Bait Skiff.
Personnel: Heather Bambrick: vocals, whistling; Mark Kieswetter: piano; Ross MacIntyre: bass; Davide DiRenzo: drums, percussion; Rob Piltch: guitar; Chase Sanborn: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Johnson: saxophones; Guido Basso: flugelhorn (4, 12).
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