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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, June 03, 2019

CD Review: Hazel Mitchell-Bell - Stronger Than Ever

(Review by Ann Alex).

The debut album from a singer who has been featured in many shows around Washington DC, including the Westminster Jazz night series. Ms. Mitchell-Bell has been involved with many genres of music and this CD includes both jazz standards and R&B hits. It features a string quartet, some electronic wizardry - mainly a pleasant synthesizer sound.

I enjoyed the CD on the whole and the instrumental playing was very good, as is the case with just about every album featuring a singer. However, I wasn't completely comfortable with the vocals on some tracks. The voice sometimes sounded a bit strident to my ears. I wondered if the singer had been involved in musical theatre where the voice has to be projected throughout a large auditorium, whereas singing jazz in a studio is quite different.

That said, I liked the voice on tracks such as the Nina Simone hit, Four Women, a song about strong women of different races; the voice is sweeter and more natural-sounding on Feel Like Making Love, and also on I Wish You Love, with a fast walking bass and an interesting extended ending with repetition of 'I wish you love'. Willow Weep For Me also works well, starting with just voice and bass, sung freely with feeling, then a bass solo. One Note Samba is quirky, the way it works best, and includes a sax solo and effective scat.

The other tracks are: Autumn Leaves; Everything Must Change; Louisiana Sunday Afternoon; Rio de Janeiro Blue; Skylark; The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face; Let There Be Love; The Makings of You.
Ann Alex.
The CD was self-released on May 3 and is available via all fine retailers.
  
Hazel Mitchell-Bell (vocals); Craig Alston (saxes, flute); Chris Barrick (vibraphones); Vince Evans (piano, keys, programming); Robert Fiester (guitar); James B King Jr. (bass); J C Jefferson (drums); Asali Ruth McIntyre (violin); Bonnie Grier (violin); Gerard Battle (viola); Denna Purdie (cello); Kim Sator Randolph (harp).

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