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May I Feel

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Album Review

Melissa Walker's debut recording as a leader is impressive for a number of reasons. Gifted with a deeply expressive voice, and a terrific supporting cast of musicians, including trumpeter and flugelhornist Terell Stafford (her husband), saxophonist Gary Bartz, pianist George Colligan, guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist James King, drummer Clarence Penn, and percussionist Steve Kroon, Walker finds fresh approaches to several very familiar songs. "I'm a Fool to Want You" finds it groove immediately with her sensitive vocal over a hip rhythm section, accented by Bartz's powerful alto sax solo. Colligan's whispering piano provides the perfect accompaniment for her gorgeous vocal to "A Time for Love." Penn's light, swinging brushes, Stafford's darting muted trumpet, and Bollenback's quick runs all assist Walker in her swinging rendition of "What a Little Moonlight Can Do." Bartz's soprano sax is a highlight of her waltz treatment of Cole Porter's oddball "Miss Otis Regrets," which Walker sings very effectively. Her gospel background is evident in her inspired original, "Love Is." This is a brilliant start for a very promising singer.


Born: 1964 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Romance

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jazz singer Melissa Walker briefly considered a career in law after graduating from Brown University, but instead launched a career as a vocalist in Washington, D.C., in 1990. There in 1993, she produced her own first album, Little Wishes, which she sold at her performances. She moved to the New York area and studied with Norman Simmons. In 1997, she signed to Enja Records and recorded May I Feel, which was released in Germany. She expanded her performing range, employing her own group and appearing...
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May I Feel, Melissa Walker
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