Pamela Rose: Wild Women of Song

Pamela Rose would make one helluva politician. She’s already a firmly established jazz and blues vocalist bearing a slight physical and musical resemblance to Bette Midler. And like Midler, Rose infuses her live and recorded performances with non-stop energy. The political reference involves her fifth release, sub-titled “Great Gal Composers of the Jazz Era.” She is not only paying lip service to the likes of Peggy Lee and the lesser-known Dorothy Fields, but the seldom-heard-of Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, and (thanks to Lee Hildebrand’s encyclopedic notes) Bernice Petkere, once known as “the queen of Tin Pan Alley,” who wrote “Close Your Eyes;” “The Girl Gershwin,” Dana Suesse, who wrote “My Silent Love;” and one who actually worked with Gershwin, Kay Swift, who wrote “Can’t We Be Friends.” Pam has become a swinging lobbyist, and we’re the


No attempt here to channel anyone; Pamela Rose simply honors them with her own approach to all 15 tracks. Pianist Tammy Hall provides a 1920s environment for Rose on “Down-Hearted Blues. Mat Catingub comes up with an R & B big band sound for the title track; and he is literally beside himself for “I Get The Blues When It Rains,” playing keyboards, saxes, and dubbing a number of voices (himself and Gayle Wilhelm), for a hip vocal cushion behind, and with, Rose.

Don’t think the accent is on blues. Rose pulls out all the stops for this session: scatting with Hammond B-3 organist Wayne De La Cruz on “I’m In The Mood For Love;” alternating between Latin and straightahead jazz with De La Cruz on “Close Your Eyes;” tenorist Joe Cohen helps Pamela get down and dirty on “If You’re So Special,” one of three originals by Rose. As infectious as her raucous numbers are, her most memorable singing is devoted to ballads such as “What A Difference A Day Made,” “Can’t We Be Friends,” “And Then Some,” and particularly “My Silent Love.” The latter is heightened by the sensitive backing of guitarist Mimi Fox.

It all adds up to nearly 69 minutes of well-balanced entertainment mixed with heartfelt, female-centric jazz anthropology.