Janine Gilbert-Carter,
A Song for You
(Jazz Karma, 2007)

Janine Gilbert-Carter has a voice as big as a Georgetown townhouse. Trained as a gospel singer, and still active in that genre, she has shifted more of her activities toward the jazz field. It's a good move; she has the chops for it. Surrounding herself with some of Washington, D.C.'s finest and best-known jazzmen, Gilbert-Carter has indulged her love for standards on this live set, taking on such songs as "What a Difference a Day Makes," "When I Fall in Love" and "All of Me."

The danger of taking on such chestnuts as those songs is simple: we've all heard them so much that we come to them with a set of expectations. Fulfill our expectations by giving us what we expect and we tune out because there's no new element, no surprise in the performance. The job of the singer and the band is to make them new once more, to take the overly familiar and find the sense of freshness and difference within it. She and her accompanists must take what we know all too well and convince us we don't know it at all.

Happily, Gilbert-Carter pulls this difficult task off. Yes, we hear the tribute to Dinah Washington in "What a Difference a Day Makes," but more importantly we hear Gilbert-Carter filling the tune with her experience, her approach to life and love.

Janine Gilbert-Carter is worth hearing. Give her a spin.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

20 October 2007

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