Sarah James

JAZZ IMPROV

INTIMATE DIALOGS KILAMANJARO DISQUES SARAH JAMES VOCALS JOHN DI MARTINO PIANO DARRYL HALL BASS TIM HORNER DRUMS JAY COLLINS TENOR SAXOPHONE Varied moods, but consistantly high quality performances permeate this recording. Certainly, the title describes the vast majority of these selections. Tose few selections that don't require the deep introspection of most of the CD provide a contrast that contributes to the success of the recording. Sarah James demonstrates on each selection that she is a superior vocalist, and that she also has superior instincts in the ability to make the listener feel that he/she is a part of the entire experience. The accompaniment is as appropriate on the six selections with a trio (and quartet) as well as on the six selections with onlyu di Martino. The intimacy of the duets makes it almost seem as if I am intruding on a very private conversation. The CD is programmed almost in the opposite way of so many recordings in that excitment increses as the record progresses. This one gets more introspective, so that by the time the last selection,"Be Still With Me is reached, the level of introspection is at an extreme level. A real attempt to find songs that have not been over used has yielded a program that includes rarities, some identified with few others. In each case however, no comparison can be drawn as James' voice remains unique on evch selection. Lucy Reed sang "lazy Afternoon", Billie Holiday sang "For Heaven's Sake" Bill Evans "sang" "My Foolish Heart" many have sang "Nice Work...", "The Very Thought of You" and "Prelude To A Kiss", but these versions are unique. The originals, "Sing Of Love", "Twilight Blues" and "Be Still With Me" will be owned by James. "You Can leave Your Hat On" a Randy Newman song, and "Bird On A Wire" by Leonard Cohen are uniquely quirky and this adds to the originality of this recording. To me, the outstanding track is Bob Dorough's "Nothing Like You", which takes on a genuine harmonic strength on this recording, unlike the original, which had a vague harmonic performance, which added to to that recording, as the specificness of the harmonies add to this one. I recommend this recording. Listeners can listen to it complete, or choose selections to suit their own tempo, mood and level of introspection for that specific moment.

Los Angeles Jazz Scene

There are many jazz musicians and singers in Los Angeles who would most likely be much better known if they lived in New York. However, there are also talented performers living in New York who have yet to become famous beyond city limits. Sarah James, who will be a new name to most listeners, spent time living in Oakland and Oregon, has performed in New York since 1976 and has recorded a dozen albums on her own Funky Diva label. She has also played alto, soprano, flute and hand drums, wrote and recited poetry and has been invilved in massage therapy and metaphysical healing. Perhaps "Intimate Dialogs", which has Ms. James focusing exclusively on singing, will help her make her breakthrough. Sarah James has a warm sensuous voice, a bluesy style and is quite expressive. All of the dozen songs on this CD have some connection to love and intimacy and the majority are ballads. The repertoire is diverse and among the highlights are "Lazy Afternoon," Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" (which has some fine tenor playing from Jay Collins), Bob Dorough's "Nothing Like You", a surprisingly slow version of "For Heaven's Sake" and Leonard Cohen's "Bird On A Wire" which is turned into a blues ballad. The closing "Be Still With Me", co-written by James with keyboardist John di Martino, is a bit new agey (with the singer speaking the words) and ends the CD on an intospective, if spacey level. di Martino is quite versatile, ranging from sounding a bit like Mc Coy Tyner on "Sing of Love" to playing gospel style organ. Six of the songs are voice-piano duets while the other six also include bassist Darryl Hall and drummer Tim Horner. Despite all her experiences, Sarah James is an up and coming jazz singer, one worth discovering!