BEBOP SPOKEN HERE (UK)
by Ann Alex
CD Review: Coniece Washington – Shades Of Shirley Horn
Coniece Washington (vocals); Vince Evans (piano, musical direction, engineer); Wes Biles (bass); JC Jefferson Jr. (drums); Kevin Kojo Prince (percussion); Thad Wilson (trumpet); Carl Carrington (flute); David P Cole (guitar); Seth Washington (poet).
A fine singer from Trenton NJ, whose vocal life began singing in her grandmother’s church. She then joined the US army but continued performing in venues in the States and Europe. She is a trained vocalist who now performs all over Washington DC, Writes songs and produces. In 2018, Ms Washington was awarded the Montgomery County Employee’s Black History Show contract.
Her second CD comprises mainly Gasbook material, some of it unfamiliar, at least to me. The music is a tribute to the singing of Shirley Horn (1934-2005). But, dare I say it? after listening to some Shirley Horn, I decided in my wisdom that Ms Washington’s voice lost nothing by comparison, though Ms Horn’s was skilled too. I found our singer’s tone appealing, slightly and pleasantly nasal tone. I also decided to mention more about the instrumentalists in this review, as I believe that they deserve more attention than I usually give them by merely saying that they are ‘competent’. To that end, track by track.
1/ Here’s to Life: This begins surprisingly with a poem explaining the CD, recited to flowing piano, and voice over keys, bass, brushes and cymbals ‘I had my share, I drank my fill’, a song with optimistic words sung slowly.
2/ Get Out Of Town: A skilled keys solo enlivens this amusing Cole Porter song, with the immortal lyrics ‘Why wish me harm, why not retire to a farm?’
3/ The Island: A Latin number with a rippling piano, concerning a desert island love fantasy, with tapping drums, (or percussion?)
4/ How Am I To Know? Another Latin, with wooden sounding percussion, probably clave blocks, and the voice intimate. I think the technical term for this is voice ‘well forward in the mix’.
5/ Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying: A much better version than the pop song. A blues with a muted trumpet making the ‘crying’ sounds.
6/ Our Love Is Here To Stay: With a keys solo, as on most of the tracks.
7/ Fever: A favourite track of mine, with a low tune on the keys, and sung seductively.
8/ If You Go: A slow heartfelt ballad, using the intimate voice again.
9/ Dindi: This has to be a Latin of course, with the intimate voice and lots of good percussion on clave, congas and bongos.
10/ Once I Loved: A Latin beat with flute remarks between the vocal lines and the pleasant change of a guitar solo.
11/ A Time For Love: Our singer gives us lots of imaginative flower images, and the band does well, especially the drummer with his rhythmic brushes.
12/ I Just Found Out About Love A great way to end the album, a fast swing with clever lyrics ‘Hey look, give me a clue, What’s love doin’ to you?
The CD is available from www.coniecewashington.com.