Monday, November 12, 2012
Review: Deborah Brown- All Too Soon
I've said it time and time again and I'll say it once more- Deborah Brown is Kansas City's premier jazz vocalist.
Brown's superb new album All Too Soon serves to solidify my opinion. Brown's lustrous voice is in spectacular form. Unlike far too many so-called jazz vocalists, Brown doesn't sound like a frustrated pop artist who only recently discovered Ella Fitzgerald. She's the genuine article. It's no coincidence that Brown can regularly be spotted in the audience at instrumental jazz gigs.
An expert band led by Eric Ineke backs Brown on All Too Soon. While the recording is pristine, Brown and Ineke's charges sound as if they inhabit 1962. The project holds its own against Nancy Wilson's 1960 album Something Wonderful and Ella Fitzgerald's 1962 album Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!.
Yet until now, the internet doesn't contain a single review of All Too Soon. Brown remains a virtual non-entity among jazz fans- both in her home town and throughout the United States. Brown's low stature isn't a complete mystery. She's her own worst enemy. Brown's woeful site doesn't list her forthcoming tour dates nor does it even mention All Too Soon. I assume she hasn't solicited jazz journalists about the project.
Even if the "right" people received press kits promoting All Too Soon, there's no guarantee that the album would be well-received. The taste-makers who advocate Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran might be inclined to believe that Brown's throwback swing is passé. That argument is playing out locally here and here.
Finally, race, age and appearance almost certainly contribute to the ongoing neglect of Brown. As has been suggested elsewhere, non-musical considerations help explain why Diana Krall fills large venues while Dee Dee Bridgewater performs in clubs. Meanwhile, friends and family continue to tell me about the "great new jazz singer" Nikki Yanofsky. The Canadian teen, not coincidentally, looks as if she belongs on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. It's the difference between a McDonald’s McRib and a mixed plate at Gates Bar-B-Q or between Miller Lite and The Sixth Glass from Boulevard Brewing.
All Too Soon is the seasoned work of a consummate swing-based jazz vocalist.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)