(e17 Jazz Records E17JCD001)
Some singer’s voices seem to work well at a gentle volume, a whisper even, while others acquire their more distinctive character under pressure and at full stretch. London-based Brigitte Beraha strikes me as a singer in the latter category.
Which suggests that I’m perhaps not hearing her at her best on this gentle and mostly quiet duo album. Then again, while she sounds better a little up her register when singing in English (Jobim’s Dindi or My One And Only Love), she sounds OK no matter how low she goes when singing in Portuguese (Edu Lobo and Chico Buarque’s Beatriz).
Brigitte also has a way with timing, where she rushes a phrase, then lays back a little later, which seems a little contrived. There is nothing wrong with the actual timing but it feels more consciously arch than natural.
So, having got the qualms out of the way, this will still be, for a great many listeners, a charming album, the result of a warm rapport between singer and pianist as well as an astute choice and wide range of material.
The bookends, Dindi and Johnny Mandel’s A Time For Love, expand the duo with solos by tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins. It might have been nicer to include Wellins on more of the material and to integrate him more within the arrangements, but maybe there’s a future project there.
Overall I’m left with the feeling that there is greater potential in this partnership than has been realised here, and compared with some of the other jazz vocal albums it’s up against it might all be very skilled but it’s ultimately lacking in punch.
Categories: CD review