MAXJAZZ’s entry into the understated singing style that combines country music sensibility and jazz instrumentation, one that Norah Jones popularized with great success, is Erin Bode.
Bode (rhymes with "Cody") developed a reputation locally in St. Louis, the hometown also of MAXJAZZ, which saw opportunity in the response of Bode’s audiences, whether she performed at clubs like Jazz At The Bistro or in highly attended concerts at Missouri Botanical Gardens. Now, with the promotional weight of MAXJAZZ behind her, it’s highly likely that many more listeners will become aware of her, especially as a result of the full-page ads in the commercial jazz magazines.
For a first-time recording, Bode has benefited from the backup of some outstanding musicians, including bassist Larry Grenadier, guitarist Adam Rogers, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, drummer Montez Coleman and pianist Bruce Barth, a fellow MAXJAZZ artist who also produced Bode’s debut CD. Despite their extensive backgrounds with such jazz legends as Dave Holland or Charles Lloyd, the instrumentalists subsume their identities for the accomplishment of the broad appeal that Bode’s voice invites.
In St. Louis, Bode gained quite a bit of airplay and attention from an earlier recording of Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time," and the reassuring comfort of that song, consisting prodding tones sustained within a narrow range and then joined by Jerry Barnes in harmony sets the mood for Don’t Take Your Time.
Bode ends the CD with "Count Your Blessings," perhaps a song with personal meaning for the daughter of a Lutheran minister who lately does
have a lot of blessings to appreciate. The song is sung with a similar devotion to the original melody without excessive adornment, and above a lush accompaniment by Barth and Nelson after Grenadier’s bowed intro. Some like "In The Pines" in three-quarter time involve the telling of stories, plainly describes and visually effective, that evoke emotion, as do other songs that remain alive in a person’s head after the singing is done. "You" is as similar in conveying with the poignancy of Meg Okura’s violin accompaniment unabashed emotional connection through the elements of song. And the song Bode wrote, "Don’t
Take Your Time," which characterizes the entire CD by virtue of naming it, is consistent with the spirit of the remainder of the songs by narrating oft-told stories of longing.
With sweetness and a feeling for a variety of musical forms jazz, country, big band, pop, spiritual that synthesize into her own appealing style, Erin Bode no doubt will develop a following that may help launch her career into the sort of fame that many present-day female singers enjoy as they add to the success of the labels they represent.