Jazz CD Reviews

Monica Ramey — Monica Ramey and the Beegie Adair Trio – Adair Music Group

She has the ability to feel and emote the understanding of the message of the lyrics and the feel for the song to the listener.

Published on April 28, 2013

Monica Ramey — Monica Ramey and the Beegie Adair Trio – Adair Music Group, 72:33 ****:

(Monica Ramey – vocals; Beege Adair – piano, Roger Spencer – bass; Chris Brown — drums; George Tidwell – trumpet  & flugelhorn (track 3, 6, 13): Denis Solee – saxophone & flute (track 5, 8, 10, 13).

Monica hails from Francesville, Indiana and is the daughter of a retired farmer and mother who is a retired music teacher.  Monica grew up performing in Indiana in several professional Broadway musical productions during her formative years according to her biography.  She studied at Los Angeles County High School of the Arts.  She later became a member of the GRAMMY National All American High School Jazz Band and Choir.  She studied at Indiana State University and was part of the ISU Jazz Singers.  She had a taste of performing with some top musicians.  Having participated in these groups she went on to study music performance at Indiana State University.  She interned in Los Angeles with the NARAS Foundation   Her primary responsibilities in this capacity was the preservation of Jazz.  Monica  moved to Nashville where she became involved with the Nashville Jazz Workshop.

She worked with a number of personalities and is where she became acquainted with Beege Adair.  Beegie Adair has over 90 accreditations in her discography.  Beege is familiar to me as I played many of Beege’s albums on air hosting a show on the Portland jazz station in the 2000s.  Monica said in her biography she was in the audience frequently at Beege’s performances.  They met and Beege would call her up to sing occasionally.  Monica went on to join with the Lori Meacham Trio on Monica’s debut album Make Someone Happy.  Beege Adair was a special guest and contributed on the album, released in 2009.  Moving forward, Monica and the Beege Adair Trio appeared at Birdland in New York, January of this year.  They are going to appear together at Birdland again in early May 2013.  You can go to http://www.monicaramey.com and select the fan photos and video button.  There is a video of a performance on stage of the song, “Change Partners” which is included in this album that is superb and shows the essence of their performance.

This album Monica Ramey and the Beege Adair Trio was released in late 2012.  The music selections are very nice with songs from the American Songbook, and some newer songs including some work from Beege Adair.

“As Long As I Live” is a Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler composition and a good start to this album.  It begins with a few bar intro by Beege on piano to be joined by Roger Spence on a wonderfully clear and solid walking bass.  They are joined shortly by Monica in her rich clear voice and it swings!  After Monica’s vocal the trio swings interacting with each other taking some solos finishing with Monica who closes out the tune and it was very delightful.

“I Thought About You”, a Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercer tune, starts slow with Monica singing thoughtfully.  The tempo breaks and starts in a strong walking beat mixed back and forth within the trio and winds up together with Monica finishing.  On “Witchcraft”,  I thought “Oh my, a Sinatra signature tune, this may not work”.  I was wrong!  Monica made it her own with her sound and phrasing.  It’s not a competition between the singers, but another wonderful rendition of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh’s popular and solid entry to the American Songbook.

“This Could be the Start of Something Big”.  Steve Allen is a favorite of mine and Monica and the trio make this tune move.  They are joined by Dennis Solee guesting on saxophone and this is a really nice performance.  There were some lyric changes to make it personal to these performers.

“Change Partners” is a very popular Irving Berlin song and a strong choice from the American Songbook.  Monica and the trio make this like the very intimate conversation Irving Berlin composed.  Monica’s emotional plea comes out in this rendition to “Change Partners” and dance with me..  George Tidwell joins coming in and out throughout the tune on his flugelhorn.  This is one of the best songs on this album for me.

“Fly Away” is a Lori Mecham and Beege Adair composition.  It is an esthetic rendering taking me to an image of beautiful scenery and far off places with one you obviously love.

There are many more songs to come in the album but it closes with “Why Did I Choose You?”, a poignant, emotional song by Michael Leonard and Herbert Martin.  Monica and Beege give a heartfelt and emotional duet on this that raised tears in my eyes and a sigh in my heart.  An excellent performance.  I must say, having seen her performance at her web site and listening to this album, Monica emanates the delivery listeners long for in an entertainer.  The ability to feel and emote the understanding of the message of the lyrics and the feel for the song to the listener.  That is pure gold for a musician.

“Monica Ramey and the Beege Adair Trio” is a richly rewarding sweet performance of some wonderful songs and a mood setter that calls for some relaxation and perhaps a little wine with a close friend.  Monica has the voice and the ability to convey the meanings and emotions of each song.  The recording quality is excellent.  The CD comes in a tri-fold cardboard sleeve container.  It has excellent liner notes, some closeup photos of the artists, a review by guitarist Anthony Wilson, a message from Beege Adair and lastly some sweet words from Monica Ramey.

TrackList: 1. As Long as I Live; 2. I Thought About You; 3. I’ll Close My Eyes; 4. Witchcraft; 5. This Could Be the Start of Something Big; 6. Change Partners; 7. Oh! Look at Me Now; 8. Lullaby of the Leaves; 9. Fly Away; 10. You Fascinate Me So; 11. Whisper Not; 12. It Amazes Me; 13. Will You Still be Mine?; 14. Why Did I Choose You?.

—Tim Taylor

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