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Friday, October 12, 2012

CD Review: Two for The Road Tianna Hall and The Mexico City Jazz Trio


Tianna Hall (vocals); Augustin Bernal (bass); Miguel Villicana (piano); Gabriel Puentes (drums)
Also David Caceres (vocals/saxophone); Mike Wheeler (guitar); Lisa Vosdoganes (cello) on some tracks.
(Review by Ann Alex.)
Tracks; Till There Was You/ What is This Thing Called Love?/ When October Goes/ They Can't Take That Away from Me/ Creep/ You'd be so Nice to Come Home to/ Black Hole Sun/ I've Never Been in Love Before/ Good Morning Heartache/ I’m not in Love/I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter/ So In Love/ Moon River/ Two for the Road. 
Tianna Hall, from Houston, Texas, is a Grammy recognised vocalist who has been singing jazz since 2004.  She has previously sung in musical theatre and opera and this is her fourth recording.  And all this past experience certainly shows in this superb CD.  What I especially liked is that she seemed to understand all these songs, and how to interpret them.  The song comes first, to be sung without too much drama, no scat and great skill.
The musicians were well up to the job and beyond, with short solos, nothing overdone, and nifty, neat, skilled arrangements.  For instance track 2 had wonderfully shifty drums and an understated vocal; Track 3 was a heartfelt song about loss with only voice and piano; this lead to the gently cheerful saxophone of They can’t Take That away from Me.  For Creep, a song about a woman who felt out of her depth in a relationship, there was a twirling uneasy bass which fitted well.  I loved Good Morning Heartache, where Ms Hall managed to build the tension slowly, with slight stumbles on the words, and the musicians hinted at Cry Me A River. Track 11 was tastefully accompanied by bass only, and on tracks 12 and 13, the vocalist used her voice in a more musical theatre style, to great effect.  I’m glad I got this CD to review as I’ll play it a lot in future, as a lesson in how to sing jazz well.
Two for The Road  Tianna Hall and The Mexico City Jazz Trio was issued in the States in September on the Mighty Pretty Records label.  
Ann Alex

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