Whitaker, supported by an A-list of west coast players, delivers the real thing with her signature dark, husky voice that seems made for jazz.
And while that voice thins now and then under the load of these demanding tunes and arrangements, Whitaker makes up for any tonal challenges with sensitive phrasing that respects the lyrics and knows when there should be sound and and when there should be silence.
Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry is a fine example with the gorgeous interplay between her muted trumpet voice and Dwyer’s sweet, supple sax. You’ll also hear it in My Foolish Heart as she plays off rich horn lines and Dwyer’s spare piano work.
Fact is, all the songs on this album are delivered with style, not the least of which are the Stevie Wonder tunes Overjoyed and Creepin’, well-chosen contemporary contrasts to the standards that are at the core of the album.
Speaking of Phil Dwyer, is there a better musical mind anywhere in the country? He, along with the other masterful players he’s recruited, including Brad Turner on trumpet and flugelhorn, Ian McDougall on trombone and Ken Lister on bass, has given Whitaker an expansive musical sandbox in which to play.
Just listen to the percussive fun and excitement on the opening The Song is You and you’ll know you’re in for a treat. This album is a winner vocally and instrumentally.
Note: Sadly the CD arrived too late for me to review it in time for Whitaker’s Victoria show this past weekend, but you can catch her tonight (Wednesday) at The Cellar in Vancouver at 8 pm. And the album is now available on disk or digital download through Whitaker’s website. It would make a great Christmas gift.
I’m re-posting information from Capilano University about a benefit concert held last night that provides an address for donations. I know the entire Island jazz community will be thinking about him and will come to his support. Please send a donation if you can. Here’s the blurb:
Ross Taggart, one of Canada’s finest jazz pianists and saxophonists, and a dear friend to many in the jazz community is in hospital battling renal cancer. A benefit concert featuring Vancouver’s finest jazz players will take place on Monday, November 26 at the NSCU Centre. The fundraiser is SOLD OUT. Donations can still be made, please send to the Vancouver Musicians Association at #100 - 925 West 8thAvenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1E4.
Submitted by: NSCU Centre