Pauline Wilson - Tribute
songstress Pauline Wilson was previously the lead singer and principal
writer for the cult fusion outfit Seawind, which gained the respect of
jazz and R&B lovers in the 1970’s and 80’s.
has toured and recorded with artists as diverse as Bruce Hornsby, Celine
Dion and The Crusaders.
is her second solo album and, as the title suggests, this is a set of
classic songs made popular by other singers.
assembled an impressive band. Check
this – Harvey Mason, Alphonso
Johnson, Lenny Castro, Larry Williams, Airto Moreira.
That’s not even mentioning the top-flight horn players, several
of whom are ex-Seawind members.
of the songs will no doubt be familiar to most people and so a
track-by-track review would be largely pointless but I’d like to
mention some highlights…
haunting Rio de Janeiro Blue sounds about as strong as when Randy
Crawford recorded it. This
song sets the tone – only artists this good can create a sound so
the bluesy tracks such as Good Morning Heartache and Someone
to Watch over Me, to the lively samba swing of Never Let Me Go,
Ms. Wilson displays a real delicacy that’s grown on me the more I’ve
listened to this CD. Never
Let Me Go has strings to die for and the vocal, ah, is beautiful.
I love the lyrical acoustic bass solo by Ken Wild on When I Fall in
Love and the lush alto flute of Larry Williams on The Nearness of
You. Alphonso Johnson's
trademark fretless bass on this track is as taut and clean-sounding as
Paulo blows like Sanborn on I Want to be Around, which I
appreciated because I don’t really like the song much.
The vocal is very strident on this one – whether it works
depends on your taste.
Hey’s bluesy, muted trumpet is perfect for my favourite Gershwin tune,
Someone to Watch Over Me. This
song is a masterpiece and Pauline and her stellar band give it due
Dindi turns up frequently and this mid-tempo, very measured
arrangement is very fresh and appealing.
Listen for that man Wild again!
be failing if I didn’t mention the contributions of two more guys. David Garfield has not only lent his arranging talent to this
set but his crystal-clear acoustic piano washes over the listener
throughout it. Recording
and mixing engineer Steve Sykes has delivered a sound which has achieved
something remarkable- playing this CD on a car stereo and a portable
CD/radio is a satisfying experience which makes the equipment sound
better than it is. On my
big system, it should sound awesome.
I went into more detail than I meant to.
It’s just that I can’t normally get excited about an album of
cover versions and I found one heck of a lot to like in “Tribute”.
2001 – producers David Garfield and Blue Johnson
Reviewed by Chris Mann