Don't Take Your Time
St. Louis' Erin Bode, the latest addition to MaxJazz's impressive roster of vocalists, is a country-folk-jazz hybrid boasting crystal clarity and flawless enunciation. She's part Norah Jones, part Jen Chapin and a whole lotta Stacey Kent. Don't Take Your Time, a follow-up to her self-produced Requests from 2001, is an ambitiously flawed assemblage of 13 tracks that vary from so-so to stunning. Bode's handling of such chestnuts as "But Not for Me," "I've Never Been In Love Before" and "Gee, Baby Ain't I Good to You" is disappointingly flat, her take on Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" is serviceable but unimaginative and her strangely icy handling of Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings" can't hold a candle to the warm hug that Rosemary Clooney offered it in White Christmas. On the other hand, Bode offers up a nicely muted treatment of the Matt Dennis rarity "Junior and Julie," delivers an appropriately misty "I Walk a Little Faster" and hits a home run with Bill Monroe's twangy "In the Pines" (suggesting, perhaps, that country-flavored tunes may serve her best). Bottom line: Bode has tons of potential and, with a little seasoning, should prove a welcome addition to the annals of contemporary jazz songbirds.