Nicolas Bearde swings hard!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I have been tough on some old school jazz vocalists with the majority being incredibly self indulgent and sadly all too predictable. Nicolas Bearde is the embodiment of taking that old school sound and making it new cool with Visions running the sonic spectrum of vocal artistry and lyrical unpredictability.
Sounds like? I hate artistic comparisons but occasionally they are necessary to give an under appreciated artist a sonic foothold for the listener to grab onto. Take the hard swing of a Joe Williams and the soulful tenderness of a Mel Torme and fast forward about thirty years. Visions includes a couple of "pop" covers that in the hands of a lesser artist could be the equivalent of tap dancing in a lyrical minefield. Nicolas does an inspiring riff on the Earth Wind & Fire tune "Mighty,Mighty." I love Stevie Wonder as well as the next person but if I hear another cover of "Overjoyed" you will find me in Home Depot looking for a length of rope and rickety stool. Instead of the expected, Nicolas Bearde lays down a reharm of "Visions" that would have "Little Stevie" smiling from ear to ear. Nicolas is far more than a cover artist with solid originals including "Falling In Love Again" and "If You Were Mine" with both sounding as potential entries into the Great American Songbook quietly biding their time in the on deck circle.
High octane jazz standards include " Misty" and " The Best Things In Life Are Free" with both arrangements working well as this comes across as the Nicolas Bearde band and not a solo vocalist with a handful of after thoughts. Speaking of after thoughts, there are none here with artists such as Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report) and Will Kennedy (Yellowjackets) serving as just the tip of the iceberg.
Tracks: Falling In Love Again; You're Sensational; Misty; Everything Must Change; The Best Things In Life Are Free; (And) It All Goes 'Round and 'Round; If You Were Mine; Never Let Me Go; Mighty, Mighty; You Better Go; Compared To What; Visions.
Nicolas Bearde is the real deal and I will be bringing you some back catalog releases soon!
Check him out at www.amazon.com