Her latest CD, Nearer The Sun, is a fine effort that showcases her rich, coffee voice and an assured, mature style. She sounds remarkably at ease, working with pianist Ben Stivers, drummer Anthony Pinciotti, and bassist Jon Hebert.
On "Night Train," she is more like one of the musicians than the singer. First, she stretches her notes, conjuring up the mournful sound of a train whistle as it rolls farther and farther away. Cole and Hebert then work together to give the song its moody close.
She also shows her versatility on "All The Things You Are," which features a nice, swinging scat. The best part is that Cole actually sounds happy when she is scatting. That’s the way it should be.
She also goes uptempo on "You Make Me Feel So Young," a song that further demonstrates her scatting abilities. There’s also some nice work by Stivers, who did most of the arrangements.
"Poem for #15" is a piece that was written for Thurman Munson, the New York Yankees catcher who died in a plane crash. It’s an unusual addition to the set, but it is notable for Cole’s nuances and vocalese sections. Again, she sounds like a mature, confident artist.
More familiar tunes on the disc, include "My Funny Valentine," "East Of The Sun," and "How Insensitive." These serve as a nod to the jazz tradition, but they avoid sounding stale.
Cole is a smart, talented singer, and the diverse material she offers on Nearer The Sun adds to the enjoyment.