Damn Michael Bailey of All About Jazz!! He concocted a truly righteous clause of well conceived terms perfectly describing Maria Jacobs' work: "her voice is not overtrained and contains just enough grit to give it a lived-in sound that makes it at once familiar and friendly with a hint of sex and satin". At first, because there's often so much gentility to her timbre, I was inclined to gently protest the typification, as the intro song, the title cut, is a beautifully wrought composition with subtly unusual body and terminus (all the more striking for the fact that it was penned by Jacobs herself), but the sophomore track, Til Forever Comes, co-written by her, introduced an edge of aching wistfulness indeed slightly roughened, just enough to capture a restrained heat of passion and sensuality, so…damn Bailey twice! He nailed it. And, good God!, Bob Fraser's guitar work complementing her vocals in Til Forever Comes is to die for, along the lines of something Dan Fogelberg would give his eyeteeth to create or hire into an album.
The only proper adjective for Jacobs' voice is 'beautiful', but, yes, there definitely is that embroidery of Eros frequently rising, never brash, always mindful, but redolent of the need for contact and hearts blending. Critic Scott Yanow caught Fall in Love Again just right in the promo lit when remarking that it should be a show tune, what with its rising dramatics and stagelight ambiance…followed by Frank Loesser's Never Will I Marry, carried off as though the singer were the lead figure in a version of Annie taken to young adulthood and cynicism, a side light in whatever a Broadway production with Jacobs might be. Her cover of Time after Time is drop-dead gorgeous, something Kenny Rankin would swoon for and Kimiko Itoh softly smile upon. Then there's the equally melting rendition of Brian Wilson's In my Room.
Here Comes Winter contains a bit of bop and swing but largely is a set of adagios, largos, and modernized madrigal sieved through Tin Pan Alley and 60s/70s soft rock sensibilities. Three cuts cover The Immaculate Joni alongside all the others, but attention must be paid to Jacobs' own scribing, which is highly praiseworthy and mindful not only of those she memorializes here but also Paul Williams, Gordon Lightfoot, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and others. That she hasn't appeared in a Broadway production only means that the impresarios there are obviously not terribly attentive to the world around them, as Joni's River gains a whole new narrative in Jacobs' hands and would entrance audiences amid a panoply of affective displays and melodics. This is Maria's fifth solo CD and someone should be cueing Barbara Streisand to tip an ear to it…along with all the other Tinsel Town residents.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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