IN A BLUE MOOD
by Ron Weinstock
Jonathan Karrant & Joshua White – Shadows Fall
Jonathan Karrant & Joshua White
“Shadows Fall” is an album of duets between vocalist Jonathan Karrant and pianist Joshua White. DownBeat has cited Karrant as among the top rising jazz vocalists, while pianist White has been praised by such artists as Herbie Hancock and was a finalist of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. This 13-track album brings together standards such as “Lush Life,” “So in Love,” and “I Thought About You,” along with contemporary songs not typically heard in the jazz genre like “Simply the Best,” and “Your Smiling Face.”
Karrant has a warm, tuneful delivery with a relaxed, clean diction complemented by White’s accompaniment that hints at a formidable technique but doesn’t overshadow Karrant’s vocals. This is evident in the rendition of the Tina Turner hit “Simply the Best,” which opens this recording. White’s rolling chords and concise solo chorus behind Karrant’s singing provide a new setting for the lyrics. The tempo increases for Richard Rogers’ “My Romance” with a swinging vocal before White takes a couple of dazzling choruses. “Detour Ahead” has a moving plaintive vocal set against White’s intricate backing. A similar reflective quality characterizes the rendition of Macy Grey’s “I Try.”
A mix of vocal and a short-spoken rap underlying a playful take on Mose Allison’s “Stop This World,” with a sterling piano accompaniment and solo. White’s elegant backing underlies a memorable performance of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.” There is a spirited rendition of James Taylor’s “Your Smiling Face” with a jaunty vocal enhanced by White’s buoyant playing. Perhaps standing out among the consistently solid performances is Karrant’s passionate singing of “I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over.”
Other selections include bright renditions of “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams” and “I Thought About You,” along with a tenderhearted treatment of “My One and Only Love.” The album concludes with Betty Carter’s “Being Me.” Throughout, the clarity of Karrant’s singing brings the lyrics to the fore against White’s eloquent accompaniments. Simply put, “Shadows Fall” is a splendid album of piano-vocal duets.