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Adam O'Farrill: "Right now in my life, I don't see music as the be-all and end-all." - (DownBeat November 2020).

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12,176 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1315 of them this year alone and, so far, 18 this month (Dec. 5).

Remembering ...

Roland Kirk died on Dec. 5, 1977.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Album review: Joanna Berkebile - Love me or Leave me

Joanna Berkebile (vocals); Leslie Maclean (piano); Tim Brewer (bass); Jerry Pollock (drums).

These songs, Joanna says, are “fresh imaginings of some of my favorite tunes. I have a rather curious mind so I love to play around with all the angles of a subject. Romance has TONS of angles! Each tune in “Love Me or Leave Me” contains a completely different personality and perspective, just none of that straightforward lovey-dovey stuff.” Each piece, she says, has the quality of meeting a person and getting their candid take on the whole complicated love subject.

The above words are taken verbatim from the blurb and, by and large, convey what the album is all about. Berkebile trained as an opera singer in Los Angeles but, after moving to Kansas City soon became immersed in the jazz scene of that metropolis.

That she successfully traversed the gap twixt the genres is evident in the way she uses her operatic range without sounding like a posh tottie out slumming. In particular her scatting on the title track, taken at the fashionably fast tempo currently favoured for that tune, would be a credit to many a more well-known jazz singer.

The songs, some well-known, some not so well-known are very much based on the power struggles of relationships that are less or more than 50%.

The Gentleman is a Dope: The voice of the other woman.


Comes Love: The inability to fight it.


My Last Affair: Famous last words!


Is You is or is You Ain't my Baby?: The oft asked question albeit usually more grammatically correct.


Mean to Me: The immortal line: Why must you be mean to me when you know what you mean to me?


Peel me a Grape: The gold digger's anthem.


Goody Goody: A comeuppance song complete with either a rarely heard verse or something of the singers own creation.


Temptation: Not the Crosby/Como classic but a more contemporary song.


Love me or Leave me: Take it or leave it!


Maclean wrote the arrangements  and her usual bass and drums help to keep things swinging along nicely.


Difficult to pigeonhole, perhaps at the jazz end of cabaret. Whatever, still very listenable - Joanna Berkebile's a name to keep an eye out for as is the Leslie Maclean Trio.

Lance


Joanna Berkebile - Love me or Leave me is available now from the usual suspects.

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