There are so many talented jazz vocalists deserving of recognition, but unless they record for major labels, they are often overlooked by all but the most discerning jazz fans and critics. Rachel Gould is a talented singer who is obviously seasoned, yet evidently making her debut as a leader with this 2002 concert date in Macerata, Italy, released by the small but prolific Philology label. Backed by guitarist Luigi Tessarollo, bassist Attilio Zanchi, and drummer Gianni Cazzola, none of whom are likely well known outside of their native land, this intimate performance finds the four of them working extremely well together. Although Gould is blessed with a deep, effective voice, she realizes not only how to use space, but she also gives ample room for her musicians to solo. "The More I See You" is gently swinging, while "On the Street Where You Live" adds a soft samba rhythm. She captures the essence of Mel Tormé's bittersweet ballad "Born to Be Blue," yet she's up to the playfulness of the delightful "How About You?," even updating the lyrics with an improvised reference to Mel Gibson and a bit of fun-filled scatting. One of Johnny Mandel's loveliest ballads, "You Are There," is a stunning duet by Gould and Tessarollo. The only problem with this release is the somewhat careless listing of the song and composer credits. The track listed as Leonard Bernstein's "Everywhere" is actually the Beatles' "Here, There and Everywhere," while the remaining tracks are all missing the names of the lyricists, which is very odd for a vocal CD. But these oversights should not detract from Rachel Gould's very solid and highly recommended (if also belated) debut.
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