While it seems like yesterday when I raved about Cassandra McKinley’s
first album Stay The Night
. That was five years ago. That CD proved McKinley’s unerring prowess at choosing great songs. Her latest project reinforces that belief. Baring The Soul
showcases the Boston songstress immersed in the music of soul legend Marvin Gaye
. McKinley loves the freedom of a jazz sextet and bends Gaye’s music just enough to make it her own. Happily, only five of the ten pieces are from the top of the charts. Til Tomorrow
made it to number 31 in 1983. Others are virtually unknown to any but Gaye’s dedicated fandom. The soul idol’s compositions fit the sultry singer like an old pair of shoes. Let’s Get It On
receives Cassandre McKinley’s ultimate foxy treatment. Stand back and feel the heat! Til Tomorrow
is another gem that benefits greatly from the Beantown singer’s very personal handling.
While Marvin Gaye recorded Your Precious Love
as a duet with Tami Terrell, McKinley draws upon the considerable vocal talents of Jon Pagano
with fine results.
Surrounded by some prime jazz players like bassist Marty Ballou, drummer Vinny Pagano and keyboardist Brad Hatfield, the singer makes good use of their ample talents. This writer is especially impressed by Brad Hatfield’s performance on the album. Hatfield is known for his appearances as accompanist with jazz diva Rebecca Parris
and as soloist with the Boston Symphony’s performance of Mystic River
. Almost a decade ago, Rebecca Parris was the first performer to submit a CD for my review. That was almost a thousand records ago!
Cassandre McKinley delivers a confident and relaxed jazz session. Baring The Soul
is a fitting tribute to a legendary singer / composer. I’ll bet Marvin would heartily recommend this CD. I certainly do!