Double Time marks the return to performance of jazz singer Kristen Miranda. And if her creative treatment of the album’s 11 mostly classic tunes is any indication, it is a return long overdue. Familiar material is reinvigorated as she reinterprets lyrics with adventurous zest. This is a woman who takes a song, works it and makes it her own. She breathes a joyful new life into her music with her extraordinary vocals.
She opens the album with a sprightly innovative take on the Sondheim-Bernstein show stopper “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story which sets the stage for the rest of the album as she demonstrates what she can do with a lyric right from the start. A Miranda original, written with pianist Joe Gilman, “Joe’s Place” follows with a change of pace. It is a new tune, but it has a familiar feel that sits well with the better known songs around it. Next is a haunting, moody version of “Over the Rainbow.” The tone is set immediately by the opening guitar passage from Steve Homan. His supporting accents throughout the song, as well as his solo work help to raise the bar on the track.
Indeed, Miranda has a supporting cast of truly talented musicians working with her, and she makes sure that they all have an opportunity to spotlight that talent. Aside from Gilman and Collard, sidemen include tenor sax player Darius Babazadeh, the trumpet of Tom Peron, Scott Collard on keyboard as well as piano on two tracks, John Wiitala on bass, and Rick Lotter on drums. Babazadeh seems to manage some sweet solo moments whenever he gets the chance; his stint in “Where or When” is only one example.
Peron’s trumpet work is always spot-on, as in the jumping “Bye Bye Blackbird” where Lotter and Collard also make sure to take care of business. Miranda adds some swinging scat singing as well on this tune, one of the album’s highlights.
Other highlights include a breathless “Ooh Child” that fairly reeks with emotion, a slowed down rather European-sounding “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and a stepped up “Autumn Leaves.” The album closes with a dynamite rocking performance of T–Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday” as a bonus track.
Kristen Miranda is back singing again, and it’s a good thing.