Saturday , March 2 2024
Borla and Daniels show the different faces of the jazz vocal.

Music Reviews: Barbara Levy Daniels – ‘Love Lost and Found,’ Janice Borla Group – ‘Promises to Burn’

Barbara Levy Daniels – Love Lost and FoundDaniels

Jazz song stylist, Barbara Levy Daniels, works her way through a baker’s dozen of classics from the Great American Songbook on her new album, Love Lost and Found, set for a March 4release. These are tunes that have been recorded many times over the years, but Daniels manages to put her own personal stamp on them. Her phrasing makes for an imaginatively effective interpretation of the material.

Her dynamic personal readings of songs like “The Nearness of You,” “Willow Weep for Me,” “Moonglow” and “Comes Love” breathe revived life into the music. Irving Berlin’s “Say It Isn’t So” gets a bossa nova beat, while “Mean to Me” stays true to its blues heritage. The arrangement of “It’s the Talk of the Town” tells an eloquent story.

Warren Vache contributes some fine solo work on muted coronet on a number of the tracks, as does pianist John DiMartino. Paul Meyers plays acoustic guitar, Boris Kozlov is on bass, and drums are handled by Shinnosuke Takahashi.

Janice Borla Group – Promises To Burn Janice borla

Janice Borla’s album, also due for a March 4 release, is much more adventurous in its choice of material as well as in performance. Borla and her quintet stay away from the conventional repertoire of the typical jazz vocalist, opting instead to feature works from composers like Lennie Tristano (“Lennie’s Pennies”), Jack DeJohnette (“Silver Hollow”), and Bill Evans (“Funkallero”)best known for their instrumental composition.

The eight songs in the set do include some selections with a vocal pedigree, but even these—the Bernstein, Comden and Green ballad “Some Other Time” and Dameron and Sigman’s “If You Could See Me Now” (originally written for the great Sarah Vaughn)are not the standards one has come to expect as the usual fare.

The bulk of the material on the album focuses on integrating the vocals as a vital component of the instrumental package. Not only does Borla combine creative phrasing, vocalise and scatting, at times her vocals echo with horn like precision. Whether she is giving a ballad like “You Don’t Know What Love Is” an easy Latin transformation, or smoking her way through Bob Mintzer’s “Runferyerlife,” her voice is an instrument to be reckoned with. She is a force of nature.

But it is not just her voice. The Janice Borla Group is an ensemble working together. It is not a bunch of sidemen backing up a singer, keeping time, and banging out a solo here in there. Scott Robinson plays tenor sax and flute. Art Davis is on trumpet and flugelhorn. The bassist is Bob Bowman. The drummer is Jack Mouse. John McLean is on guitars. It is indeed a “Group.”

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