Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Remember melody? Remember soul when it was about emotion and not about the runs and vocal pyrotechnics we associate with the music today? I recently reviewed the latest offering from Bearde and was so impressed that I decided to see what his deep catalog material was all about. Live At Yoshi's is a more than fitting tribute to the great Lou Rawls.
Bearde's tone, phrasing and impeccable timing turn this stellar live recording into something special with a delightful backing quartet that serves as the melodic anchor and far more than a handful of afterthoughts. Similar to Lou Rawls, Bearde turns a live performance into an intimate evening of story telling and celebration of some of the greatest music of our time.
Highlights here are many and include some of the more familiar numbers associated with the late Lou Rawls. " Lady Love" along with "God Bless The Child" and the rousing closer "I'd Rather Drink Me Some Muddy Water" embody the soulful and soul filled voice of a talent that is deserving of far wider recognition. Why does the release work so well? Nicolas Bearde performs with a quiet confidence and connectivity to a song that reinforces to most listeners that this is an artist that is comfortable with who he is and just what king of artist he is looking to be. While you have heard this analogy used on music reality shows, this is real life and Nicolas Bearde is indeed the real deal!
Tracks: Introduction: Afrikahn Jamal Days; Living Room; The Girl From Ipanema; Lady Love; I Believe In You; Hello Like Before; The Shadow Of Your Smile; God Bless The Child; Nic's Monologue; World Of Trouble; Lou's Medley; I'd Rather Drink Me Some Muddy Water.
Personnel: Charles McNeal: Saxophone; Jason Lewis: Drums; Nelson Braxton: Bass; Glenn Person: Piano.