In her eponymous Opportunity Please Knock, Teraesa Vinson has released a mainly intimate affair with small swinging combos that amply display her velvety cool vocals, versatility and care-free sophistication. Vinson’s song selection reveals her strong affiliation with the swing song tradition and her respect of singers the likes of Betty Roche, Peggy Lee or Anita O’Day. This CD comes with 11 engaging and time-tested tracks with one pop-come-jazz tune arguably a welcome addition to the jazz songbooks.
One thing is immediately clear; Vinson is able to present the old jazz warhorses freshly without allowing each tune to suffer from a banal sameness across each track. This is particularly true of the many otherwise fine singers who record with small combos but fail to inject a pulse into the overall album. Not being the case here, Vinson opens with What a Difference a Day Made
sounding a bit reticent (probably trying not to sound like Dinah Washington-she doesn’t) in her opening but quickly warming up with nice accompaniment from her band. Vinson shows that she can sing with the swagger of Ella Fitzgerald as she does on lesser known Moon Ray
. Here, she quietly casts her spell with a magical and sumptuous reading in a tune that fits her hand-in-glove with the unison piano and bass pairings.
Showing her versatility, Vinson handles the vocal gymnastics of such tunes like The Song is You
executed with an invigorating spirit and clarity. She then renders a warm caressing touch on ballad Young and Foolish
which is followed by Coltrane flavored musings on the saxophone. Vinson capably interjects a youthful zeal in her contagious vocals on While We’re Young
and The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
Bonnie Raitt’s dark warm I Can’t Make You Love Me
stands as the odd one out but Vinson turns in a beautiful rendition with her poignant reading and heartfelt delivery. Taking it a notch up, she croons with sophisticated flair on A Beautiful Friendship
and bravely on Sinatra’s very own The Way You Look Tonight
arranged as a cute jazz waltz and guitar duet. Finally, Vinson playfully pitches her plea on Opportunity Please Knock
, an Oscar Brown Jr. commentary on civil rights, covered here with a vampy and saucy confidence certain, that is, to open up doors.