Nanette Natal

Is Love Enough?

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With her fifth album, Nanette Natal continues to explore the myriad possibilities of the voice as a jazz instrument and how it can be used to express human emotions and feelings through song. She does this by placing familiar material into a much different environment than it is usually presented, and through her compositions, which create imaginative and challenging settings for her vocals. The resourceful use of instruments is an important adjunct to Natal's objective of concocting new and different listening sensations. Natal turns Irving Berlin's light romantic fluff "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" into an intense, dramatic tableau, complete with pulsating bongos and inventive wordless vocalizing. Intensity is also in the forefront for her on "Is Love Enough?," whose somber background is created with the help of Melanie Yarger's cello. Her approach to "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean" combines the theatrics of Sarah Vaughan and the sassiness of a Ruth Brown piece. Facile instrumentation once more comes into play when Tim Ferguson repeats the same bassline held on by Jeff McErlain's twanging Delta blues-like guitar rests, all embossed by whoops and hollers from Natal. This one is quite breathtaking. The medley from West Side Story has Natal swinging backed solely by bass and brushes. "Moon River" is sung like a gospel hymn, with Gary Schreiner accorded solo space for his plaintive harmonica. Natal continues to demonstrate her ability to arrange familiar material altogether differently without it sounding contrived or forced. She makes her artistic point without having to rely solely on her own work. Her interpretations of standard material are legitimate and thoroughly engrossing. Pianist Richard Wyands' sympathetic piano makes a major contribution to the success of this recommended album.

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