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Saturday, October 21, 2017

CD Review: Sherri Roberts - Anybody's Spring

Sherri Roberts (vocal); David Udolf (piano); Harvie S (bass); Akira Tana (drums); Sheryl Bailey (guitar).
(Review by Lance).
The seasons have provided fertile material for songwriters, often to the point of overkill with: Winter Wonderland, Autumn Leaves and Summertime being typical examples of good songs that have been flogged to death unlike Winter in Madrid (Ann Richards w. Kenton), Autumn Serenade and The Things We Did Last Summer which are all worthy of more exposure.
Spring, however, is a different kettle of fish - possibly because there are more of them [songs] - but, since Shakespeare's It Was a Lover and His Lass, Spring, like love, has ever been in the air and the airs on this album are 12 of the best sung by a lady who moved from theatre to song when she recognized that exploring the rich emotional life of a character through story can be done far more economically in a four-minute song than a two-hour play; that a well-written song is like a drama in miniature, distilled to its musical essence; and that singing, like acting, offers the means to externalize the deeper, internal self. She walked away from theatre and onto the bandstand, and hasn’t looked back since.
And I'm rather glad about that!
Initially, I missed the boat on this one. It was scheduled for release in March just after the vernal equinox but maybe I, or the mailman, was hibernating and so I never got to hear it until now. The theme is Spring - now a distant memory - but, such is the choice of songs, that indeed It Might as Well (still) be Spring.
A delightful choice of songs: It's Anybody's Spring; Spring Sprang Sprung; They Say It's Spring; It Might as Well be Spring; Joy Spring; Double Rainbow; Now at Last; One Morning in May; Lady Bird; While We're Young; Spring Isn't Everything.
Roberts is a class act, I've noticed how singers with a theatrical background know how to project a lyric and Sherri does just that albeit not as the great diva, more the ingénue who steals the show. Chet Baker or Shirley Horn spring to mind.
A stellar supporting cast keeps the momentum flowing. Solos by Udolf and Bailey impress as does Harvie S along with Tana's brushwork on One Morning in May or One Mornin' in May as Roberts tells it. Bass and drums also boot Lady Bird along prior to solos from guitar, piano, voice and drums. 
Four bars of Robbins' Nest sung by Roberts sees the track safely home.
I'm always saying that there are too many female singers rolling off the conveyor belts but, when they're of this calibre all I can say is, 'Keep them conveyor belts rolling'.
Lance.

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