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Perfect Timing

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Album Review

Barbara King is one of several hundred jazz vocalists based in New York City who has little national reputation, but she is one who should be recognized. Possessing a clear, distinctive voice using very little bravado or cutesy kitsch, King has great confidence singing in the tradition of Nancy Wilson. She also has a claim to being a fledgling songwriter, as three of the tunes here are hers. But what sets her apart from the rest is the raft of accompanying musicians who support her on the album, a dazzling crew featuring, on select tracks, Romero Lubambo, John DiMartino, Carl Allen, Arturo O'Farrill, George Colligan, Rodney Jones, Eddie "E.J." Allen, Cecil Bridgewater, and Dave Valentin, among others. It would be impossible not to be inspired by this group of all-star professional jazz artists. King's material consists of mostly pop covers done well in jazz trim, with not a single standard in the bunch. Always friendly and engaging, sometimes preachy, King's style should easily appeal to the mainstream jazz audience looking for a new singer to champion.

Of King's original tunes, "Miracles" is an authentic jazz swinger, with fine interaction and teamwork from guitarist Jones, drummer Carl Allen, and bassist Kenny Davis. Heard best in her mid-to-upper range during "Perfect Timing," King is in fine form as strong as supporters Colligan and drummer Allen in tick-tock to swing beats. "Your Smile" is a samba with a larger band featuring trumpeter Eddie Allen, O'Farrill, and Valentin, the kind of tune King should do frequently. Lubambo is included on the light Paul McCartney/John Lennon standard "Let It Be," Colligan's trio skates through "I Say a Little Prayer," while low-key, late-night drama is emphasized for Bob Dylan's "Forever Young." More convincing on Donny Hathaway's "Tryin' Times" with the always excellent DiMartino, the rock-solid modal bass of Ray Drummond, and the wowing guitar of Rodney Jones, King shows her soulful side. This set is only satisfying to a certain degree, in that it is surely a scratching of the surface for Barbara King. The overwhelmingly excellent musicians she has chosen, while displaying her good taste and elevating her inspiration level, may also dwarf attention to her fine singing. She is capable of much more, as follow-up efforts with her own band should yield. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Perfect Timing, Barbara King
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 23, 2008

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