You know you're in for something different when the liner notes are credited to Fennard Leather. In addition to being a jazz singer, Vikki True bills herself as a spiritual healer. This "spirit" is heard in the performances of the classic standards on her album. "Summertime" opens with some highly ghostly music apparently created by the machinations of bass player Richard Downs. Throughout this tune, True engages in a variety of vocal gymnastics, including some significant wordless vocalizing backed by the unearthly bass. Most listeners probably have never heard "Summertime" done this way, as it is pushed, pulled, dragged, and otherwise wrestled through more than seven minutes of extemporization by True and crew. That True has studied with modern jazz singer Janet Lawson is quite apparent by her mode of delivery of such tunes as "Shall We Dance," filled with odd phrasing and time signatures by both True and pianist Peter Schneider. Never wanting for risks and surprises, True superimposes a chorus from "Over the Rainbow" right smack in the middle of "Green Dolphin Street," showing an adroit knack for making sure that her audience is still listening. True apparently has also listened to Betty Carter, as she engages in the complex renditions she has chosen for the selections on the play list. In addition to his prowess on the bass, Downs is also proficient on the trumpet, which he takes out on several tracks such as on "Lullaby of Birdland," which is done comparatively straightforward. This album requires a strong commitment from the listener. He/she must be willing to keep ears and mind open and be willing to consider interpretations of familiar material somewhat off the beaten track. Once this resolution is made, the aural rewards will be significant. Recommended for the bold and committed jazz fan.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan