Good? Yes! Sure fire Grammy nod according to Amazon? Too early but I might toss in a respectful no, at least not yet. Jackie Ryan brings not only a tremendous amount of talent but respect from her contemporaries and is unmatched as is evident with John Clayton accompanying Ryan on bass. John Clayton's son Gerald who is more than a star in his own right sits in on piano and the great Obed Calvaire on drums. An "A" list singer with an "A" list band.
Perhaps the only critical remark I would make is a tremendous amount of ground is covered here and will that lose the average listener? Blues, gospel, a Spanish ballad and two original tunes that are certainly far from throwaways. Ryan's musical resume is most impressive having sat in with the likes of Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, and Cyrus Chestnut. One particular gem to keep your eye on is the up and coming Graham Dechter on guitar, a monster player whose musical stock is an arrow pointing straight up. While Ryan's phrasing, intonation and innate gift of transforming her talents from that of "A" list vocalist, this may if fact be one of those rare moments where the band not only plays "with" the singer and not "around" her but in some cases actually outshines Ryan's talent.
Some of the more eclectic tunes where Ryan excels include the incredibly Abbey Lincoln song "Throw It Away" and the standard from lyricists Johnny Mercer, "Accentuate The Positive." Another remarkable standard that Ryan nails with seemingly little or no effort is the George Gershwin tune "I Loves You Porgy." One of the highlights of the release is "Before We Fall In Love" written by bassist John Clayton. A beautiful melody kept simple, concise and with uncompromising lyrics from two of the better contemporaries working today in Alan and Marilyn Bergan.
Listen Here is one of the better female jazz releases for 2012. When vocals as top flight as Ryan's are paired up with what may be essentially one of the best working bands in jazz the end results will be spot on.
4 out of 5 Stars. In the tightly clustered pack of female vocalists, Jackie Ryan sets herself apart with flair, finesse and originality while have perhaps THE "A" list backup band in jazz today. A superior recording across the board.
Tracks: Comin' Home Baby; The Gypsy In My Soul; Throw It Away; Accentuate The Positive; Anytime, Andy Day Anywhere; I Loves You Porgy; How Little We Know; La Puerta; Rip Van Winkle; A Time For Love; No One Ever Tells You; Before We Fall In Love; To The Ends Of The Earth; Listen Here.
Personnel: Jackie Ryan: vocals; Gerald Clayton: piano, organ; John Clayton: bass; Gilbert Castellanos: trumpet; Graham Dechter: guitar; Obed Calvaire: drums; Rickey Woodward: sax.
Special Thanks to Michael Bloom of Michael Bloom Media Relations.