From the opening bars of vocalist Janice Borla’s remarkable new album “Promises to Burn,” there is no doubt that this is jazz at its purest. Consummate musicianship, astonishing interplay, and a sense of joyfully unfettered creativity permeates the entire album. Her beautiful, rounded voice and flawless intonation is often in scat mode here, with her wordless lyrics shaped to sound more like a horn. And like an instrumentalist, when she sings written lyrics, she does so in a manner that states the melodic line to create the framework from which the solo will emerge.
Janice takes on eight challenging compositions, many of which would be unexpected material for a vocalist. To accomplish this successfully, a clear vision of structure is demanded, and her formidable arranging artistry is fully up to the task. She has assembled an exceptional ensemble of musicians for the project: Scott Robinson (tenor sax/flute), Art Davis (trumpet/flugelhorn), John McLean (guitars), Bob Bowman (bass) and Jack Mouse (drums). The arrangements provide a broad palette of textures and contexts for interaction – harmonized, contrapuntal and improvisational, and with plenty of room for blowing.
"Among the best, boldest and most innovative vocalists around…The sextet exercises its fervent cohesion across a marvelously wide-ranging playlist…vocal-based jazz symbiosis rarely reaches such splendor."
~ Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
"Superb! The voice of Janice is a jewel, and her group shows that it's a pleasure to play with her."
~ Serge Warin, Radio Grand Brive, France