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Reviews: Louise Rogers: Black Coffee

Reviews: 1

Review by sgb August 31, 2013 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This recording has vexed me for a few days, and I suppose that I should begin wondering if I should avoid Chesky recordings altogether. I was prompted to buy this when visiting the Chesky site since the song list had several of my favorites from the Forties and Fifties in it.

The artists are all new to me, and I must say that the style of jazz they are playing here is excellent; so are the arrangements which don't always follow those of the originals from decades past, but these are nearly all quite welcomed.

The quartet performs well together, with the three backup musicians playing cohesively with their vocalist, but I am not certain whether Ms Rogers, the vocalist, is performing quite as well as the others. I researched Ms Rogers as best I could, and found in the booklet that accompanies the disc that it was the Chesky brothers themselves who suggested to Ms Rogers that she sing with such reticence. The booklet goes on to compare this vocalist with those of the past, but as I reminded myself of the various tunes being performed here, I could not liken these stars from the past with what I was hearing. Astrud Gilberto downright owns, "Gentle Rain," the last selection on the disc, and, by far one of the two most awkwardly sung on the entire disc. But the slightly nasal, almost whiny character of Ms Rogers voice can be heard though out, as if she is approaching the songs with some apprehension.

From a sonic viewpoint, the sound is typically Chesky, with solid images that don't wander at all, and the dynamics faithfully reproduce the the guitar modified to sound as if it is from the past mid century. The vocalist, though, sounds a bit too far back, and her voice suffers from a bit of inability to hear it clearly within the sound field. I tried raising the volume enough to see if this made the voice any clearer, but to no avail.

Overall this has been a disappointment, as I had hoped that Chesky would have found another Rebecca Pidgeon. As it is, though, I cannot recommend this as being up to Chesky's usual high standards. (I listen in stereo only.)

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