Thursday, May 3, 2012

CD Review:”Journey” by Carol Welsman



Everybody has a CD in their car for road trips. It might be something rockin’ to make the white lines go faster. It might be something bluesy, well, because the blues feels just right for the road. Well, here’s one that’ll put you in a nice, mellow mood for traveling. Its jazzy and will have you snappin’ your fingers and tapping the wheel. It’ll make that wanderlust feel so much better, whether your getting your kicks on Route 66, or On The Road Again, there’s something here for the Gypsy in all of us.

Welsman is an expressive piano player, having majored in piano performance at the acclaimed Berklee College Of Music. She is also a fine song writer, although you’ll have to check her Discography for her previous ten albums where that particular talent is on display. On top of all that talent, she is also blest with a voice that was built for jazz. The lady can sing. On Journey Welsman invites us to ride shotgun on a sassy, yet intimate adventure. Here she explores 14 classic ‘road songs’ that pay tribute to not only the songwriters and artists that made these tunes hits but her lifelong love of travelling. To give you an idea, here’s a hit from her album, Language of Love.

“You Take Me Away” by Carol Welsman from the album “Language Of Love”

Welsman’s style, both on the piano and vocally, covers expressions from sly and witty to sexy and sensual. It doesn’t hurt that she is fluent in French and Portuguese, and thus has mastered the nuance of inflexions and can turn a clever phrase and never misses a chance to insert double entendre. The band here is guitarist Pierre Coté and drummer/percussionist Jimmy Branly, Marc Rogers on bass and a guest spot by trumpeter Ron Di Lauro on "You Came A Long Way From St. Louis”.

The true joy in experiencing the 14 tracks included here comes not only from hearing Welsman swing a batch of obscure tunes that were new even to her (including "You Came A Long Way From St. Louis" and "Detour Ahead"), but also hearing her explore new harmonic possibilities and create deeper emotional worlds for familiar pop chestnuts like "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and "On The Road Again." Welsman takes sly and sensual turns with more obvious choices ("Route 66," "Two For The Road") and smartly picks some titles where the traveling is embedded in the lyrics, including "Never Make Your Move Too Soon" (a jazzy romp showcasing Welsman's dynamic scatting style), Johnny Mercer and Jimmy Van Heusen's "I Thought About You" and "Where Can I Go Without You".

“I Like Men” a nod to Peggy Lee
There were also a few (originally unintentional) winks back to Peggy Lee with "...St. Louis" and "Where Can I Go Without You," whose lyrics were penned by the legendary singer. Journey closes with an elegant rendition of her friend Marian McPartland's ,          "Twilight World,"

After listening to the album, and reading the press release from Justin Time Records, one thing that caught my eye and ear was the fact that every tune was recorded in one or two takes over a four day period. The presentation, the preparation – just a few runs through in rehearsals before entering the studio – are astounding and speak volumes about Welsman and the band as performers. The improv that happened in rehearsals really does embody the true essence of jazz in letting the creative mood filter through all the experience you have had in learning to be this good at this level. Truly astounding. It adds an intimacy to the final work the result is a palette of sonic colors that sets the vibe. The feel of the album as a whole is very cohesive.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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