Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Barbara Morrison: I Wanna Be Loved (Savant)

Review of album by LA-based singer paying tribute to Dinah Washington

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Barbara Morrison album cover
Cover of “I Wanna Be Loved” by Barbara Morrison

For the past few years, Barbara Morrison, now 67, has been touring with I Wanna Be Loved, her one-woman—and one-man, with Jay Jackson guesting as Brook Benton—tribute to Dinah Washington. This album could be considered a quasi-soundtrack. It omits Washington’s trademark hits, her Top 10 duets with Benton and the raunchier numbers that were her stock-in-trade in the early-to-mid 1950s, but covers various standards, most associated with Dinah across her too-brief career. As on her two previous Savant releases, Morrison is teamed with tenor saxophonist Houston Person, pianist Stuart Elster, bassist Richard Simon and drummer Lee Spath.

Like Washington, Morrison is a blues-steeped singer blessed with brassy jazz intrepidity. She opens with a wailing “Perdido” and ventures beyond the Washington songbook for an appropriately shimmering, midtempo “Shiny Stockings” and a sinewy “Work Song.” Across seven of the remaining tracks, Morrison and company opt for mellower grooves, serving up tender readings of “I’ll Close My Eyes,” “Make Me a Present of You,” “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” “Skylark” and the title tune, plus a light, sparkling “This Time the Dream’s on Me.” But Morrison best captures Washington’s sass and verve on the album’s penultimate track, a bracing, staccato “September in the Rain” closely modeled on the Queen of the Blues’ landmark 1960 version, though with plenty of room for all four band members to stretch out.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published