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Visit Me by Barbara Morrison

I only have one thing to say to Barbara Morrison. Thank you for the voice, and thank you for the music. This is an inspired and emotional recording deserving wider recognition. Barbara whose influences include Etta James, Dinah Washington and the great Esther Phillips, serves up one of the finest recordings this year. She has been on the music scene for quite a few years having played with Johnny Otis, Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter as well as opening for Ray Charles. Her roots run deep, and yes, she is a seasoned artist of the highest caliber.

"Visit Me" is an update tune, which showcases Barbara's sliding vocals, twisting and turning around the melody, this Howlett Smith composition is an excellent choice to start off what will be an enjoyable journey. Ralph Moore takes the tenor sax solo on this one.

Stevie Wonder's, "Rocket Love" is presented as a slow shuffle with Barbara's intimate vocal style so eloquently on display. Warm, inviting, and thoroughly enjoyable, this version is certainly one of the many highlights. Nice solo from trumpet player, Nolan Shaheed who delivers an effective muted sound which captures the essence and mood of this gem.

"You" is an opportunity to hear Barbara in a wonderful duet with vocalist Kevin Mahogany. If Joe Williams were alive, he would be proud of Kevin's delivery and phrasing, as well as his deep resonant voice which goes to show how deeply Joe influenced Kevin's style, as well as sense of fun. Reminds me of the great vocal outings Joe Williams had with the Count Basie Band of the Œ50's.

Percy Mayfield's "A River's Invitation" is a riveting tune which pays homage to some of the greats including Mama Thornton, Eddie Harris and Esther Phillips. Ricky Woodward takes the alto sax solo on this one.

Howlett Smith's "Is She Still On Your Mind" highlights not only Barbara's way of handling a ballad, but also features late bassist Andy Simpkins fine bass work. Any played for many years with the great Sarah Vaughan. One aspect of Barbara's singing, is the way she inflects these little twists in the notes that all great Rhythm and Blues vocalists from Dinah Washington to Esther Phillips had in spades. His tune is also the kind of music you would want to listen to late at night, to melt away the hours.

Barbara's time is long overdue, and she should be noticed by a wider audience. This recording is a start, and if you like your Rhythm and Blues with some lovely Jazz phrasing, emotion, and conviction, this recording is highly recommended. Barbara's choice of musicians from Ralph Moore to legendary drummer Paul Humphrey, and bassist Andy Simpkins can only add more spice to this festive occasion.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Barbara Morrison
  • CD Title: Visit Me
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Chartmaker Jazz
  • Musicians: Paul Humphrey: Drums; Kevin Mahogany: Vocals; Ralph Moore: Tenor Sax; Barbara Morrison: Vocals; Nolan Shaheed: Trumpet; Andrew Simpkins: Bass; Rickey Woodard: Alto Sax / Tenor Sax; Phil Wright: Piano; Eugene "Snooky" Young: Trumpet/ Vocals
  • Rating: Five Stars
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