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Intimate by PJ Parker

In Intimate, vocalist PJ Parker makes her CD debut, singing favorites from the American Song Book. She sings the ballads with sweetness and delicacy, but strains a bit in the up-tempo numbers. Overall, though, it’s a good record, something relaxing to listen to while, say, driving or lounging in the backyard.

The tracks were made over a period of months at Rosse’s, a restaurant in the Watchtung Mountains of New Jersey. Very capably accompanying her on various tracks are pianists Vinnie Ruggieri and John Bianculli.

Parker says she was Inspired in her youth by the likes of Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughn. Here, though, she sings with a touch of Jane Monheit-like sweetness in the ballads, while striving in the fast numbers for the naturally swinging quality of an Ella or Anita O'Day.

Standing out among the 14 favorites is a slow, languid version of "Surrey With The Fringe On Top." With Parker, the two lovers described aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere; likewise the journey is pleasant for the listener. In "Don’t Blame Me," Parker also hits her groove, swinging lightly, prodded most capably by Ruggieri’s piano work.

"Sentimental Journey," though, underlines her shortcomings. She ups the pace on the moody piece, and her phrasing sounds a little stilted as she strives to swing. In like manner, on "I’m Beginning To See the Light," she sounds a little "herky-jerky," attempting to set a jazzy tempo. But, again, Bianculli’s accompaniment almost saves the piece.

She is at her best on "Blame It On My Youth." With Bianculli’s sensitive touch leading her, she brings a breathy sweetness to this contemplative paean to the lover we’ve all lost at one time.

With "All of Me," she is in command, slowly drawing the listener in with an attitude of majestic surrender. These slow tempos are her forte.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: PJ Parker
  • CD Title: Intimate
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: PJB Creatives
  • Rating: Three Stars
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