When covering non-jazz
songs, most artists tend to do hit singles. San Francisco vocalist
Kristina breaks tradition by putting her stamp on “Tea in the Sahara,” an
album track by The Police. With a cool bass line by Rich Girard and
African percussion in the background, Kristina brings a multicultural
approach to open her release, Offshore Echoes, on Patois Records. Her
wordless chant during Frank Martin’s piano solo adds an ethereal element.
Drummer Deszon Claiborne contributes.
Kristina is joined by a lineup that’s variable and versatile. In addition
to the musicians mentioned, the cast includes producer/arranger Wayne
Wallace, pianist Murray Low, bassist David Belove and many others.
Offshore Echoes also revisits some jazz standards. A full horn section
accompanies on “Cherokee,” which is highlighted by Kristina’s scat and a
brief call and response between the horns and the percussionists.
One of the more engaging tracks is the Chick Corea song, “Open Your Eyes
You Can Fly,” previously sung by Flora Purim. Kristina, who says the
words, “have the courage to be free,” got her through college during a
time of self-doubt, sings in a style similar to Purim’s. The layers of
lead vocal, background vocals and horns over the rhythm section give this
song a tremendous amount of depth. Wallace performs a striking trombone
Kristina’s vocal style is her own, although one may hear influences of
Purim, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Janis Siegel. Combined with the
cast of musicians and Wallace’s arrangements, she makes Offshore Echoes
one solid musical outing.