Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tianna Hall & The Mexico City Jazz Trio, Two for the Road

With "jazz singers", "you'll know when you get there." You'll also know when you don't. In the case of Tianna Hall and her album with the Mexico City Jazz Trio, Two For the Road (Mighty Pretty Records), I knew after only a minute into the CD. Then the rest of the program continued to let me know. Tianna Hall has that creative tension that allows her to take an old standard and bring crackling electricity into its re-presentation.

She has some very nuanced ways that we expect from a singer of the "A" class. Rhythmically, she can and does break it down and rebuild the phrase structures like a horn. Her voice quality is very attractive and she can pinpoint the amount of vibrato, the emphasis on a lyric by accentuation, the limber yet taught phrasing of stanzas. She is something else!

It most certainly doesn't hurt that the Mexico City Jazz Trio is a kicking threesome. That they are.

The song choices are what works for her. So "Till There Was You" comes alive in a Tianese zone, as does "I'm Going to Sit Write Down and Write Myself a Letter". Those who read my columns know how sick I can be of standards these days. But with Tianna Hall, it's new again. She kicks it, all the way through the town and then some. And there are some songs not especially well known in standard town, too, like "Creep", that she positively takes over and owns...completely.

Hear her. There's drama and it is unfeigned. There's musicality and it is real.

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