Tell Him I Said Hello – Jocelyn Barth (reviewed by T. Bebedor)


Jazz has always been a music of interpretation, the music is intended as a starting place for musicians to lead it to somewhere new. Where it goes and how successful the journey will be is down to the musicians themselves – check out the eternal treatment of My Favourite Things by John Coltrane for an example of how it can be done perfectly.

For jazz singers, it can be even more difficult because you are always compared to the great voices of Ella Fitgerald, Louis Armstrong, Gregory Porter or Nine Simone but when your voice can express emotion, depth, and is lyrically strong you’ll find a way through.

Canadian Jocelyn Barth has notes of Ella and the rich bassy tone of Cassandra Wilson and is a joy to hear tackle songs like ‘I Didn’t Know About You’, ‘Lost In a Fog’ and ‘I’ll Look Around’. This is the end-of-the-evening jazz when the audience has gone home and the musicians play for the fun of playing. Her voice is often exposed against the open arrangements but it never falters, managing the highs and lows perfectly with such a silky sound that it sounds as if she is singing just for you.

It’s a calm album, an album to get lost in and is perfectly produced with all instruments being clear and heard and for such a small group, the sound they make is engaging and arresting. Seeing this band live in an intimate setting would be a treat and would probably create such an atmosphere that the songs would go up another level.

The band of David Restivo, Artie Roth, John MacMurchy on piano, bass and clarinet/flute respectively create a wonderful backing (check out an impressive bass part on ‘I Didn’t Know About You’ and ‘All Through The Night’ and flute part on the title track) for Barth to weave and concoct a clever, seductive vocal line that manages to sound timeless and modern at the same time

.If you are a fan of people like Diana Krall or like your jazz laid-back and served with a scotch or bourbon, seek out Jocelyn Barth because, on this showing, she is something rather special.

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