Blues in the City
New Orleans-bred singer Laverne Butler delivers her debut recording as part of a new label dedicated to jazz voices. Ably produced by pianist Bruce Barth, this disc showcases a singer with a nice relaxed sensibility and the capacity to knowingly deliver a lyric. Hers is a nice, not especially striking voice that in this case is invested in a 13-song program of mostly familiar material from the jazz-blues canon. While Ms. Butler is clearly a talent worthy of your consideration, there is something missing here, perhaps the spark of true originality; at this point hers is the approach of literally dozens of aspiring singers.
Maybe it's the program: so tried, so true, or the somewhat lacking in fire-in-the-belly delivery. Though the songs are delivered with warmth and a certain appealing subtlety, I found myself longing for more of a challenge. The repertoire could stand some freshening; there is a feeling of been there, done that. Butler has a real talent and a good voice, yet one is left with a certain incompleteness.