Who is your favorite singer from the Canadian province of Newfoundland? Don’t have one? If you listen to Heather Bambrick, that could change. Ms. Bambrick is a nominee for the Juno Awards, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys. She is known in her country for singing with sensitivity about things that matter to her. Among them are racism, homophobia and other contemporary expressions of interpersonal aggression. She sets the tone of her new album Fine State, with “You’ve Got To Be Taught,” Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s anti-prejudice anthem from the musical South Pacific. A dedicated Canadian, she pays tribute to her home province, with “Homeland,” which she also uses in the CD’s promotional video.
Other highlights of the Bambrick album are Milton Nascimento’s modern classic “Bridges”; Rodgers’ and Hart’s “It Never Entered My Mind;” an adaptation of Lalo Schifrin’s and Gene Lees’s “The Right To Love,” and several song composed or co-written by written by Ms. Bambrick herself. Among the impressive guest instrumental soloist are flugelhornist Chase Sanborn and, on several tracks, pianist Andrea Farrugia.
Thanks to Terri Hinte for calling our attention to the new album by New York Voices. In their third decade together, the group’s Reminiscing In Tempo fortifies their reputation as a vocal ensemble whose musicality matches their ability to reach deeply into the rhythmic heritage that gives jazz its unique place in world culture. I would be surprised if the lead track doesn’t grab the most attention, in part because when “Round, Round, Round” debuted as part of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out album in 1959, it became ubiquitous on radios and juke boxes. Then, it was known as “Blue Rondo á la Turk” and was nearly as famous as “Take Five.” New York Voices adapts the Al Jarreau version that itself came near Top-40 status in the fifties. Other pieces in this intriguing collection: the Ellington title track “Reminiscing In Tempo,” “Avalon,” Lennon and McCartney’s “In My Life” Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright With Me,” and an “Avalon” so speedy that Al Jolson, who wrote the song, might have had trouble keeping up with it. This is an album of variety and depth, beautifully sung.