Although this is Beth Yeshaya's first solo CD, it doesn't sound like a debut. The singer exudes a feeling of maturity and experience. Yeshaya grew up in Minnesota and began her career in New England singing hotel venues. While attending Berklee, she met her husband, pianist Adi Yeshaya. The couple traveled to Adi's native Israel and Beth performed in some of Tel Aviv's jazz clubs. Moving back to Minnesota, she continued in music doing radio and TV work, background vocals for pop singer Gloria Gaynor and fronted the Adi Yeshaya Big Band.
"Far Cry" was recorded live at an NPR studio in front of a small audience of invited guests. Adi later enhanced some tracks with added horns, reeds and cello. The idea behind the live audience was to introduce some warmth to the recording with applause and the tinkling of wine glasses. In fact, I didn't notice any clinking of glasses on the CD. The small crowd seems as fascinated as I was with the spell cast by this fine jazz singer. Beth handles the vocalese tracks with the ease of Annie Ross. Included in this eclectic collection are standards like "Night In Tunisia", "Angel Eyes", "My Funny Valentine" and the theme from "Black Orpheus." Beth adds two of her own compositions in the form of "Far Cry" and the beautiful "Diamonds On Velvet." Billy Strayhorn's legendary "Lush Life" is handled with the reverence it deserves.
The album has several highlights, one of which is the swinging treatment of "Bye Bye Blackbird" in a vocalese style with some very nice piano by Adi. Many of the ballads on this disc include the brilliant cello work of Jesse Levy. Levy's playing is world class and I'd like to hear more. Beth and Adi Yeshaya have turned out a great debut CD and I wish them every success.