Not usually prone to write about vocalists, I changed my mind upon hearing this CD. Along with bassist Tyrone Brown's accompaniment (more than ever could be expected), Rosella Washington uses her beautifully controlled mezzo soprano voice to shape a compilation of songs telling a story that is the blues, the pain, the heartache, the prayer, the final lightheartedness and the passion to continue after a loved one is gone.
The quality of her delivery to me is flawless. She does not miss a note or a beat. Bassist Brown does stray at all and supplies the rhythm in tandem right along with her or imitates how the notes she sings would carry over to an inanimate instrument. The first note to come out of her in "Someone to Watch Over Me" wrapped me immediately in the suppleness of her voice. The influence of gospel music infiltrates many of the numbers. She can hang notes in ways that I want to internalize and remember. Her voice can run the scales as a horn could. The high notes she hits signify the glory of the idea of spiritual renewal. They sound like the peaking of a saxophone played by an enchanted instrumentalist. Sometimes, shakers shake in the background to lighten the combined deep tones produced by the voice and the bass. Percussionist Bill Meek is responsible for this precisely chosen timing.
The seventeen works Rosella performs stem from a wide range of standards written by composers including Jerome Kern all the way to Antonio Jobim. Brown has written for Rosella "With Open Eyes" , for which he plays his own fast-paced pizzicato solo, and the concluding scat solo "El Monte". Meek has contributed "Ellingtonia II", which employs Rosella's resonating scat-oooing and Brown's talents for bending pitches towards the development of his own voice.
The quality of the recording is excellent. This is inseparable from the quality of the music recorded. CIMP should be very proud of this release. This was a good place to start...for me.