Robin Bessier has a voice that sparkles, clear and lucid as a flowing stream bubbling with vivacity beneath bright blue skies, and the self-penned Don't Worry, We've Got You opens the CD with smiles and feel-good, followed by a hoppin' take on Bobby McFerrin's Jubilee. Hell, even her God Bless the Child radiates far more hope than any other version I've ever heard, so, rather than dunk my donut morosely in steaming coffee as this damned planet slips into political/economic madness, I feel like getting up, jumping past the door, and grabbing the world by the throat. Who the hell says I have to sit and wait for things? I'll dance to my own muse, dammit! That's the feeling this disc imbues.
Darin Clendenin's piano is the steadiest and most constant instrumental presence throughout Forever, though producer and chief arranger Barney McClure slips some fine keys in during God Bless (and I suspect he chose the engineer as well in this spotlessly mixed and balanced affair). Even when the horns dominate, Clendenin's backgrounds are perfectly delineated, his leads masterful counterpoint to the vocals but there are also refined and muted sensitivities in Other Side of Forever, delicate and measured like autumn slowly seeping into summer's end, Jay Thomas' trumpet underscoring the down-shift into umber, ochre, and sienna.
My favorite track? Bessier's own Right Here, Right Now. It reminds me of some of Flora Purim's old catalogue, bursting with joy even when wistful. The Very Thought of You trots Robin out in very pleasing sax-like bell tones through the lyric section and then Swingle Singers scat in the decorations, Clipper Anderson's bass solo bringing the gambol back down to earth before skipping and dancing beside Bessier. After all that, though, here's the real surprise: Forever is Bessier's debut disc. Coulda knocked me over with a feather. However, she apprenticed under Jan Stentz after being inspired by her opera-singing mother, and with influence like that, it's not terribly surprising she came to the table not just with an appetite but also brought the banquet.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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