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Roland Kirk died on Dec. 5, 1977.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

CD Review: Ada Bird Wolfe and Jamieson Trotter – He & Me

Ada Bird Wolfe (vocals, some lyrics); Jamieson Trotter (piano)

Apart from writing novels, poetry and newspaper articles, Ms Wolfe has always been a jazz enthusiast, singing at open mic nights, headlining her own gigs at jazz venues around Los Angeles before finally settling at the Gardenia, a Hollywood nightclub, where she first heard Trotter.

Trotter, a first-call accompanist for singers, studied with bassist Charlie Haden and has played on a number of film soundtracks. He has performed with the Temptations, and his piano work is featured on albums with vocalists Carol Bach Y Rita and Mark Winkler. His tastes are wide-ranging, from hardcore jazz to country music.

This very enjoyable album reflects many of these influences. Wolfe's voice is a pleasing low alto and she avoids vocal gymnastics, preferring subtle variations on melody, though when she sings fast I was reminded of the quirkiness of the late Annie Ross. It is obvious that Trotter really listens to his singers and responds inventively.

The album consists of three original songs with lyrics by Wolfe; the Wayne Shorter tune ESP with Wolfe's lyrics; a version of Straight No Chaser sung to lyrics by Sally Swisher; the Beatles song Blackbird (popular with jazz musicians, I guess because of the many possible ways to play this tune); and six standards.

We first hear a solo piano and a sly reference to Some Enchanted Evening, then a quick rush of lyrics about knowing someone else's thoughts: 'ESP is the miracle sign'; then comes Night In Tunisia, with the piano portraying moonlight and the voice cleverly on a seemingly different tune altogether, but it matches.  You're Everything swings tenderly, great for late night listening; the original Too Much Stuff  is amusing; Any Woman's Blues is of the down and dirty blues theme 'leave my man alone'.  Just a taste of what you can hear on this CD.

The album is available online and everywhere. See

Ann Alex

Mind To Mind (ESP); Night In Tunisia; Sweet Nardis; You're Everything; Logo Eu; Too Much Stuff; Any Woman's Blues; Blue In Green/All Blues; Blackbird; But Beautiful; Get It Straight (Straight No Chaser); Done With That.

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