Well Worth A Visit

I will be blogging lightly today. This may be all there is until tomorrow, unless inspiration or necessity convince me to break away from the deadline article that I’m writing for even more pay than I get from Rifftides.
The Rifftides staff has added a new blog to the Other Places list in the right-hand column. It is the site operated by Joe Moore of KFSR-FM in Fresno. He deals in news about jazz, which lately includes a discouraging number of obituaries. For the most part, his blog is a collection point for articles from all over, but now and then he doesn’t mind giving his opinion. This is the one that made me think his Jazzportraits is a blog worth keeping an eye on. It concerns a track on an album by the singer Mary Stallings with pianist Gerri Allen and drummer Billy Hart, among others.

Someone, (please raise your hand) decided it would be a good idea for Mary to record a cover of Nashville pop diva Shania Twain’s chart topping hit “Still the One” (not the song by the band Orleans of the same name, which would have been a better choice).
Like a car wreck that’s so horrible you can’t take your eyes off of it, after sitting slack jawed through the first listen through this track, I had to click repeat and hear it about 10 more times. The tune is performed slower than the original, in a quasi swing Billy Hart beat that he’s used quite often on Geri’s records before. Geri’s reharmonized the tune with her typical minimalist approach, and then had the (?)inspired(?) idea to overdub this dissonant synth organ part behind Mary’s vocals, almost an alien pedal point (the chord does change a few times, but you get the idea). The melody of the tune does NOT lend it to a swing beat, especially the B section (the hook). Mary, who is a true pro, tries to make the best of it, but it’s a flat out disaster, and I’m actually shocked it made the record. Simply horrible.

That seems to indicate that Moore listens closely, knows what he’s hearing, and is not reluctant to be blunt. Bluntness is not epidemic in jazz radio. To read the whole review, go here.

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