With a play list of classic standards and venerable pop tunes along with rarely heard material, Patricia Adams' debut album Blue for You provides more than 66 minutes of mostly emotionally thick ballads. Adams came to jazz relatively late in her life. She started singing jazz as an avocation at age 50 while working as a human resources manager at Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts. Making a commitment, Adams gave up her day job and devoted herself full time to what she really wanted to do. Going full bore to become a true jazz professional, she studied music theory, harmony, and improvisation at the New England Conservatory in Boston. She was also coached on vocal techniques by Dominique Eade and Semenya McCord. Adams has since performed at Boston's Scullers Jazz Club, Ryles Jazz Club, and several Manhattan jazz spots including Arci's Place and Danny's Skylight Room.
Adams, born and bred in Yonkers, has a mature voice that is suited to the material on this album. Her unique style and delivery are shown to advantage on such tunes as "Come in From the Rain," where she displays an unusual staccato scatting, and on an authoritative, earthy "Blues in the Night." On the play list is "Where Do You Start?," perhaps the saddest, most heart-wrenching song ever composed (or at least one of them) and appropriate for inclusion on an album devoted to tales of woe. Not as mournful as Shirley Horn's seminal rendition, Adams' version is nonetheless not recommended as a cure for melancholia. But all's not gloom and doom here. There's a nice, slightly swinging "Nice and Easy" with good piano from Doug Hammer. The Duke Ellington medley of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me" benefits from the bass intro by Dave Zinno and the bounce and lilt in Adams' voice. Tasteful string background is dubbed on several tracks, including an exceptionally poignant, questioning "How Did He Look?"
Adams is joined by her regular working quartet. Their long-standing association is evident, as the members of the group fit like a snug but comfortable glove in support of the singer. This album is a memorable and auspicious start for a late blooming -- but very good -- vocalist. Recommended.