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I'll Take Romance

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Album Review

For her first solo vocal album, Julia Rich has opted for an unadventurous but solid play list of ten classic standards, a Beatles' favorite, and one Rich original, all of which she delivers in her own sweet way. Rich is the featured vocalist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and this big band experience comes in handy on this disc. In addition to excellent phrasing, her sense of timing is faultless as she interacts with her instrumentalists in ensemble and individually. "More Than You Know" is introduced with the verse with Rich seguing into the chorus behind Bob Mater's caressed cymbals. Tenor man Ricky Woodard comes in with his deep, mellow tenor maneuvering in and around Rich's plaintive delivery of this Billy Rose/Edward Eliscu classic. Woodard's big horn plays a major role throughout this disc as he does at least one chorus on almost every track. One of his more compelling solos is heard on "Stars Fell on Alabama" where he engages in some intriguing note bending. Rich's own "Two Afternoons in December" moves along in 3/4 time and provides one more opportunity for Rich to work in tandem with a member of the ensemble. This time it's in front of the mellow, soft-toned flugelhorn of George Tidwell. A very upbeat "It's all Right With Me" highlights Gary Weaver's piano and Woodward's tenor as they romp through this chestnut. Weaver shares piano duties with Bob Migliore whose skills are displayed on an unusual arrangement of "Deep Purple," which spotlights the Latin percussion of Ron Gannaway, the bass of Jim Ferguson, and Tidwell's muted trumpet. Migliore also does a despondent sounding piano meshing nicely with Rich on a melancholy "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning." Things wind up on a bright note with an upbeat version of "Blue Moon."

This is not a breakthrough album. Yet, there's almost 45 minutes of laid-back, pleasing, and entertaining jazz music presented by a good straight-ahead vocalist backed by some very talented instrumentalists. Julia Rich's I'll Take Romance is recommended.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A preacher's daughter from Tennessee, Julia Rich's road to becoming a jazz vocalist has been a winding one. Graduating from a job as a singing waitress in 1980, she started doing gigs in clubs in Chattanooga. During this time she worked with bass player Eddie Edwards and Stanley Turrentine organist Butch Cornell. They directed her to the work of the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and other jazz divas. Since then she has acquainted herself with the styles of Carmen McRae, Johnny Hartman,...
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I'll Take Romance, Julia Rich
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