Carri Coltrane is well served by her songwriting partner Gene McDaniels on The First Time, a pleasing CD that emphasizes adult-contemporary pop and quiet storm music but contains a few straight-ahead jazz offerings as well. The First Time, which McDaniels produced, wasn't actually Coltrane's first album (she'd provided an obscure LP back in 1980), but it marked the first time she had recorded in the CD era. McDaniels liked to describe Coltrane's approach as "intimate" singing, and in fact, intimacy is one of the things that characterizes this introspective date. Far from a belter, Coltrane favors subtlety and understatement on such delicate pop as "Safe with Me," "Love Me Where I Live" and "River in the Desert." The First Time's strongest offering is Miles Davis' "Blue in Green," for which McDaniels wrote some poignant lyrics. Although not as jazz-oriented as 1998's Flamenco Sketches would be, The First Time indicated that Coltrane deserved a lot more exposure as both a jazz singer and a pop singer. First released on Coltrane and McDaniels' Numoon label in 1997, The First Time was reissued by Accurate in 1999.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson