Continuing the work found in her last release, Under a Painted Sky (here), Judy Wexler is expanding her wont in the same smooth, clear, lucid manner, a good deal of the attribution going as well to co-producer and arranger/pianist Jeff Colella, the cat who spent nearly 20 years with Lou Rawls and who here dials back the atmosphere from Lou's oft exuberant and bluesy to Judy's mellifluous and sensual, though she brings that up a notch with a good deal of very refined bop in her phrasings and timing. In terms of originality via interpretation, this singer is a deconstructionist who tears down the elements to find what others missed, then puts it all together again, but always with a bright positive spin even when wistful. There's always an element of dream here.
The band is once more excellent and, like last time, as often understated as gently emphatic. Colella's pianistics are frequently soft drops of rain, shards of light, birdsong settling down from above, falling all around Wexler's centrality. Ron Stout pulls out flugelhorn and trumpet, escorting the chanteuse by the hand through Blue Note doors, harking back to the roots of The Great American Songbook bowing to Miles & Co. (w/Gil Evans, of course!) while listening to modern pop's latterday hybrid reversions to its progenitors' geneses.
Just for Now hits Kenny Rankin heights in finely re-tuned lines stepping over the border wherein singing becomes as much an element sitting with the instruments as vocal chords can craft, a sax-like quality that Grover Washington might well have undertaken. I was particularly taken, though, with Follow, the song Richie Havens had done much with on his '67 Mixed Bag LP, and its zen-pensive "If all the things you see ain't what they seem / Then don't mind me 'cause I ain't nothin' but a dream". The blissful equanimity with which Wexler addresses the philosophy and music is exquisite, so much so that there's nothing to add, nothing to subtract.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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