Friday, June 20, 2008

Libby York-Here With You

Something's cool. Something's really cool.

June Christy's landmark album aside, Meredith D'Ambrosio, Laverne Butler, Ethel Ennis, are all jazz singers whom I'd consider true jazz singers. Singers of individuality, dexterity and above all an innate sense of jazz vocal history. They are also jazz singers who flew a bit under the jazz radar in terms of a wider audience. Add Libby York to that short list. And the comparison will arise no doubt. She sounds like...this. She sounds like that. Ms. York should'nt have that problem. She sounds like herself.

"Here With You" (Libby York Music), Ms. York's latest offering is further proof of her unique brilliance. Smooth and oh so cool under fire, Ms. York surrounds herself, as well she should with world class cats in Russell Malone, Howard Alden, and Warren Vache. Bassist Jon Burr along with drummer Vanderlei Pereira aren't slouches either (Kudos for the production work of pianist Renee Rosnes who was one Ms. York's preceding disc, 'Sunday In New York').

All true singers plumb the depths of the American songbook. Entreated we are to snug versions of 'For All We Know', 'You Go to My Head', 'But Beautiful', etc. With a gem in the clunky crying tender romance of Howard Alden's guitar, back dropped by Warren Vache's muted horn styling. And did you know Mr. Vache could sing? I sure didn't! He's got a few grains of gravel in his throat. His duet with Ms. York is straight out of Armstrong/Fitzgerald or Ray Charles/Betty Carter. Classic stuff. Also very nice is the soft passionate lilt of 'Flamingo'.

Each tune herein is engaging. But that's what the best of jazz singers are known for - making all songs their own! Libby York does it with unforced grace and ease. And she does it with something cool. Something really cool! Her own voice.

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