Anderson, vocals; Monty Alexander, piano; Ray Brown, bass; Frank Gant,
drums – Groove Note GRV1029-3 – Stereo-only SACD, 39 min. *****:
Ying Tan and Groove Note have been slowly and methodically mining the
vaults at Concord for more superb reissues in their SACD series, and
this latest disc from chanteuse Ernestine Anderson follows what has so
far been a winning tradition. This trio date from 1980 finds Ms.
Anderson in excellent company; Monty Alexander deftly handles his
chores on piano and keyboards, while the legendary Ray Brown adds his
chops on bass. Frank Gant on drums rounds out this exceptional session.
Concord Records generally produces excellent recordings, but these
remasters in the hands of Ying Tan are truly something to behold. Maybe
it’s simply transferring these special tracks to SACD – I can’t help
but believe that there’s some additional magic going on in the
background that helps these Groove Note releases transcend the
ordinary. Everything about this disc just sparkles with true-to-life
sound – Monty, Ray and Ernestine are right there in the room with you –
I almost felt I could reach out and touch them!
Ernestine Anderson’s provides a truly soulful delivery of this
well-chosen mix of ballads and blues – you definitely get the
impression she’s lived the music she sings with her raspy-sweet alto.
Monty Alexander’s keyboards are an essential part of the recipe – is
there an oeuvre that he hasn’t mastered? And just when you think you’ve
covered all his moves, in the album’s centerpiece “Old Folks,” he
switches to electric piano, and gives a totally appropriately groovy
and contemporary feel to the proceedings.
If there’s a caveat here, it’s the discs’ skimpy 39 minute playing time
– were there no bonus tracks from the original session? Oh well, when
it’s this good, who really cares. I can’t recommend this disc highly
Tracks: Never Make Your Move Too Soon; What A Diff’rence A Day Makes;
As Long As I Live; Old Folks; Just One More Chance; My Shining Hour;
Why Did I Choose You?; Poor Butterfly.
— Tom Gibbs