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December 1999

Vanessa Rubin
Language of Love
Telarc

Still waitin'. Still waitin' for that Vanessa Rubin breakthrough album, the one that lifts her vocal artistry and clear-cut swingability to the next level. Lord knows she has toiled in the trenches for more than a minute, sittin' in as one of the cats, touring with ever-swinging trios, lending her honeyed tones to a varied manner of standards and blues. Last time out for RCA, she even engaged in a fairly ill-fated crossover effort. If you know Vanessa, you knew that wasn't the ticket. So just what is the ticket?

This time out she traverses an 11-song program of largely tried and true material, braced by regular pianist, the promising George Colligan, rapidly developing bassist Richie Goods, and veteran drummer Dwayne Broadnax. The proceedings are enhanced by the guest stints of the great Billy Higgins, and guitarist Henry Johnson, while Freddy Cole lends his soulful sense of understatement in duet on "Nice 'n' Easy," and "Everytime We Say Goodbye." Perhaps that's the rub: maybe the marketplace is ready for Vanessa Rubin to stretch out, hang-fly a bit, and expand her repertoire beyond the tried and true. Still waiting.…

Originally published in December 1999
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