Tianna Hall,
Never Let Me Go
(Blue Bamboo, 2011)

Tianna Hall does a fine job on this selection of jazz standards, but the big attraction on Never Let Me Go, her new release on Blue Bamboo, is her backup.

Instead of the usual piano, bass and drums, Hall is backed by two guitarists, Mike Wheeler and Mike Nose. One player solos while the other either takes the bass part or chords in the background, with exceptionally fluid playing. Lisa Vosdoanes adds cello on the title track, and James Metcalfe adds barely audible percussion on "Samba do Avido."

Hall's vocals are spirited, but relaxed enough to blend in with the strings. She uses feeling instead of volume, which is the right approach for these songs, which range from 1927's "My Blue Heaven" to two 1974 Jobim numbers. Hall and the guitarists switch from smoky renditions of "You Don't Know What Love Is" to lighter touches on "Secret Love" to a swinging "You and the Night and the Music."

This different approach gives a fresh note to these familiar songs.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Dave Howell

14 January 2012

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