One of the jazz albums that has been in my rotation over the last week or so is Promises to Burn from the Janice Borla Group. Yes another jazz vocalist but Ms Borla is really a special vocalist Neil Tesser of the Chicago Reader sums up Janice’s vocalizations well….
“She shatters the stereotype of the jazz vocalist as a poseur or wannabe, infatuated with the idea of improvisation but lacking the mettle to carry it off: she’s a musician who happens to play voice…”
“…A triumph of vocal improvisation.”
From the opening number “Funkallero” which is a Bill Evans tune with words added by Karen Gallinger I was entranced by Ms. Borla’s vocal styling, which includes a great voice and an even better ability to scat! It was the opening duet featuring Janice’s scatting vocals, and the bass of Bob Bowman that first caught my attention. Then you add the guitar of John McLean (note to self check for MORE of his work), the tenor saxophone of Scott Robinson, the trumpet of Art Davis and Jack House’s steady drumming and Janice has one helluva’ group!!
And they keep up the pace through the whole album with some ballads and some more scatting from Janice especially on another favorite of mine on the album the cover of Lennie Tristano’s “Lennie’s Pennies”.
Each member of the group gets their moment to shine on this track, and throughout the album. I’m listening now to both the trumpet of Davis and McLean’s guitar on the ballad “Midnight Voyage” really, really good…. oh, here comes those scatting vocals again!!
Here’s a good review of the album at All About Jazz Janice Borla Group: Promises To Burn (2014) and another at the Folk& Acoustic Music Exchange: Promises to Burn Review. Both can tell you more about the album than I can and better, too!
I said when I reviewed Darden Purcell’s album, that I typically don’t listen to jazz vocalists, but neither Ms Purcell nor Ms. Borla are typical jazz vocalists. For me they are in a select group of vocalist who expand the genre! So check out Promises to Burn
Now let’s do something a little different – First you can listen to Janice Borla performing “Funkallero” and then follow it by listening to the instrumental version of the song by Bill Evans….enjoy!!