I needed nothing more than to spot Wild is the Wind as the lead track to immediately interest me in Beata Pater's latest, Golden Lady. When Bowie covered the mournful song, I about lost my cool, such a righteous version! (but then ALL of Station to Station was killer). But where the Thin White Duke took it over the top, Pater approaches from the Mel Torme side of the house, West Coast Cooling down with a generous sidecar of Nina Simone, who also cut a great version in '64. And as opposed to the Red disc (here), Lady takes things to the trio level—just voice, piano, and bass, often enough just piano and voice.
Where Red was, as I opined, a colorful cocktail album, Lady is the gin 'n tonic side of the singer, a window on a pier-side dive at midnight, neon lights flashing discreetly outside, a balmy wind breezing past the doorway, and a roomful of clinking glasses and murmured conversations sounding as the audience drinks in the ambiance. I Don't Remember Growing Up departs from that for a moment, a Sting-ish reading of Artie Butler's old tune. The title cut, of course, is Stevie Wonder's great opus, one of many the cat wrote, here taken down to a fundament even Stevie never exposed, a wistful reading transitioning from dance floor escapade to romantic ballad.
Jobim's Someone to Light Up my Life swims across the Gulf to rest on hip Texo-Floridian shores, lolling in the fading sun. Throughout the disc, Hiromi Aoki's keys are mellifluous and beautiful, slightly complementing and then subtly offshading Pater's readings in excellent copacetic contrast, and take that Jobim cut as a prime example, my fave cut by the way. Beata pulls all kinds of sonic garrulities and taffy-soft elasticities without ever becoming demonstrative in the least, an evocation Chet Baker woulda swooned for. You can almost hear her wink and smile. And if you picked up Red, be prepared for a very pleasant surprise from the other side of town.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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