Monday, October 1, 2012

Tianna Hall & The Mexico City Jazz Trio Two For The Road MPR 2012

I have to be honest...I really did not think Tianna Hall could improve on her last release, shows how much I know.

Hall may well be one of the finer jazz vocalists some of you may have never heard of. Of course a former editor would often caution me of telling a reader what they would experience so let us call this a "shared perspective" because talent this fine is simply hard to ignore.

A vocal release can sink or swim depending largely on song selection and most importantly putting the right arrangements with the right musicians. So far Hall is killing it as they say with Two For The Road. So let's talk tunes for a minute, from standards guaranteed to touch even the heart of the most cynical of critics such as "Good Morning Heartache" to a wonderful reharm of Radiohead's "Creep" Hall and The Mexico City Jazz Trio are firing on all cylinders. While covering certain pop tunes has the uncanny ability to make my skin crawl, Hall's versions of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" are two huge surprises on this eclectic release that runs the sonic table with relative ease. The more wistful take on "Moon River" was most appropriate with the sad passing of Andy Williams weeks earlier. Tianna Hall does a smoldering riff on Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love." More often than not there are those "pretty girls" that think they can sing (which is why God made church choirs, cruise ships and karaoke night) then there are vocalists that make that instant connection with the listener and of course Hall falls into the far more favorable category.

Literally a musical buffet for the jazz aficionado, Tianna Hall is the real deal and when placed in this particular setting is absolutely legit! Organic vocal jazz that hits on the visceral and cerebral and if ever there was an Independent artist that deserved a shot at a major label deal, it's Hall!

As close to perfect as you can get.

Tracks: Til There Was You; What Is This Thing Called Love?; When October Goes; They Can't Take That Away From Me; Creep; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Black Hole Sun; I've Never Been In Love Before; Good Morning Heartache; I'm Not In Love; I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter; So In Love; Moon River; Two For The Road.

Personnel: Tianna Hall: vocals; Agustin Bernal: bass; Miguel Villicana: piano; Gabriel Puentes: drums.
Guests: David Caceres: vocals/saxophone; Mike Wheeler: guitar; Lisa Vosdoganes: cello.