Much admired in San Francisco jazz and r & b circles, singer Nicolas Bearde comes through with strength and style on his first jazz album. Bearde's soulful side is clearly present. In fact, if he could be compared to anyone, it might be to the earlier work of crossover singer Lou Rawls. Backed by a trio led by pianist Nat Adderley, Jr., and with several Bay Area guests weaving in and out of the nine selections heard here, Bearde keeps it appropriately close to the vest on these well chosen tunes. A note of interest is the presence of guest alto sax star Vincent Herring on "Come Back To Me", and "Invitation". Other standards include Billy Strayhorn's classic "Lush Life" and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage". The latter tune includes a lyric by Herbie's late sister, Jean Hancock. Never before had I encountered words to Herbie's famous composition. If you like a dose of soulful feeling in your jazz serving, Nicolas Bearde is your man.
Right Groove Records; 2016; appx. 46 min.
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