Vocal jazz is a sea swimming with vocalists that come from a theater background, but can they make the transition to singing in a mainstream jazz style with the “authentic” phrasing, articulation and rhythms? That is a comment I hear from so many reviewers and seem baffled at the statement. Can a jazz player not play pop if they so desire, well Michael Brecker did, in fact, his discography is sprinkled with more pop recordings than jazz, from the Carpenters to the Simons (Paul and Carly), to Sanborn to Blue Oyster Cult. Brecker was an artist that made a living as a musician and certainly made his mark in the field of jazz. So enters, Carter Calvert and the Roger Cohen Trio. Well it’s not really an entry, but an opening of awareness to the jazz genre of who Carter is. Carter is a recognized Broadway performer (lead role as Grizabella in Cats on Broadway national tour) and is best known for her originating her role in the Tony nominated It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues on Broadway where she co-starred with Grammy nominated Gregory Porter, who also is embraced by the jazz genre, while not exactly a traditionalist himself.
This is Carter’s entry into the jazz field, but not one that comes without years, hours and grit under her belt. Her voice truly is a siren and she has a range like no other. Joined by her husband’s trio they embark on a truly personal journey of arrangements and songs that showcase Calvert’s immense talent and abilities.
Some of the highlights include; "The Best Is Yet To Come," which immediately acmes Carter’s well-developed chops. Carter exemplifies an instinctive ability to swing, her solid phrasing and intriguing tone is contagious and the Roger Cohen trio responds in kind with responsive underpinning and interactive support. The Peggy Lee signature tune "Fever" is always dangerous ground, but in the capable hands of Calvert and her crew, it is presented in a subtle contemporary flair and truly is turned into a fiery jewel.
A transcendent version of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" is Calvert at her very best. The Roger Cohen trio works as an interconnected ensemble and with Calvert; she is another instrument versus a vocalist fronting a band.
An artistic closer Peter Gabriel’s “Washing of the Water," further exemplifies Calvert’s superlative ability to convert pop tunes into a jazz setting with stellar results, while Calvert's vocal abilities transcend far beyond “jazz singer,” she is more than comfortable and capable to use the label.
Tracks: The Best Is Yet To Come; Fever; Bewitched, Bothered &amp;amp;amp;amp; Bewildered; You Belong To Me; Not While I'm Around; Crazy; What A Little Moonlight Can Do; Send In The Clowns; Please Don't Stop Him; Time After Time; Memory; Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child; Washing of the Water.
Personnel: Carter Calvert: vocals; Jim West: piano; Brian Glassman: acoustic bass; Roger Cohen: drums &amp;amp;amp;amp; percussion; Rob Evan: additional vocals on time after time.
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