Street Date 04/10/12
When it comes to choosing a career path, if travel is not your bag then jazz musician may be about the second worst career path you can choose next to flight attendant. Fortunately veteran vocalist Carol Welsman has a life long affinity for traveling and has combined this love affair with her gift of song for a somewhat auto-biographical look at the intimate journey that has seen Welsman through from Boston to Tokyo all while receiving five Juno nominations (the Canadian Grammy) while entertaining enthusiastic audiences worldwide.
When the idea of a musical travel-log first came up and ideas for tunes began emerging the most recurrent question seemed to be "Oh no! How can I leave that out?" The end result of this conceptualized mix tape of more than an intimate travel diary as it is a more intimate look at a true artistic spin on some eclectic tunes that in some cases had remained dormant for painfully obvious reasons. Welsman's hidden talent for making old school turn new cool add a freshness and vitality to a release that could have easily been bogged down in the same tired arrangements that shelved the majority of these tunes after their commercial relevance had long since faded.
The classic ( and personal favorite ) Route 66 kicks off with a sly swing that sneaks up on you like that cocktail you promised would be it just before they announce "last call!" Pierre Cote on guitar and bassist Marc Rogers lay down an impeccable swing accencuated by Welsman's intoxicating vocals. Treating Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again" to a subtle samba flair and the transition to the more Brazilian jazz sensibilities is a stroke of musical genius. Harmonic twists and turns make this sonic road and a true musical adventure with incredibly fresh arrangement that seem to come from out of the clear blue. The Jimmy Webb standard "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" is flipped to a far more wistful ballad of emotional highs and lows that transform the stellar vocals of Welsman to that of masterful story teller. "Travelin' Light" is a more introspective ballad, a tune that seems to strike an oddly personal chord with Welsman. An intimate look at a singer that transcends the norms of what is more commonly associated with traditional vocal jazz into a unique voice of classic Americana song styling. A warm and tender voice with just a slight smokey finish to go down smooth, Carol Welsman is on point on virtually every aspect of this flawless release. When I saw the song selection there were some numbers that I admittedly doubted could make that transition to jazz sensibilities much less the transition past anything other than an incredibly dated original. I am more than happy to say just how wrong I truly am.
Carol Welsman's beautiful and artistic interpretation combined with a first call band make Journey one of the very finest vocal releases of the year and has tremendous cross over potential. A flawless recording easily cranking out 5 Stars!
Tracks: Route 66; On The Road Again: You Came A Long Way From St. Louis; By The Time I Get To Phoenix; I Thought About You; Volons Vers La Lune; Two For The Road; Where Can I Go Without You; Samba Do Aviao; Travelin Light; Never Make Your Move Too Soon; Detour Ahead; Si J'Etais Un Homme:Twilight World>
Personnel:Carol Welsman:vocals, piano; Marc Rogers: bass; Jimmy Brandy: drums &percussion; Pierre Cote: guitars; Ron Di Lauro:trumpet (3).