Martha Lorin

Come Walk with Me

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    8
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For her second album, Southport Records has placed Martha Lorin in a variety of instrumental settings that highlight her versatility as a song stylist. Lorin touches all the bases on this session. The rhythms include the tango, Caribbean, swing, blues, slow ballads, and more. Adding to the album's enjoyment are the imaginative arrangements penned by pianist Miles Black, who is also the only musician, other than Lorin, to appear on all the tracks. The play list of 15 includes tunes that are not all that often recorded as well as three originals by Lorin. The musicians are from the Chicago area headed by the dean of the Windy City tenor men, Von Freeman (although Eddie Johnson followers may disagree) and the venerable jazz fiddler Johnny Frigo. While perhaps not having the notoriety of these two greats, the other musicians are nonetheless first-rate. Variety of tempo and delivery is the name of the game throughout this session. Bill Blount's clarinet creates a seductive tango rhythm on "Close Your Eyes." Von Freeman's tenor waxes soulfully on "Carefully Taught" and the classic "On Green Dolphin Street." The arresting combination of Leon Joyce's snare drums and Black's piano are the sole accompaniment on three cuts including a distinctive arrangement of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend." Frigo is more generous with his time than Freeman, appearing on five of the tracks, and he swings with distinction on a Caribbean-influenced arrangement of "Cinnamon and Clove." None of the tempo changes nor different instrumentation arrangements faze Lorin. To the contrary, she is clearly at ease with the shifting scenarios showing excellent phrasing and timing coupled with an intuitive feel for the music. Nowhere is this shown to better effect than on the album's coda, Billy Strayhorn's difficult to sing "Lush Life." Arranged beautifully with Blount's dark, woody middle register clarinet creating the mood befitting Lorin's dark hued voice. While it will not replace the Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane Quartet recording as the seminal version of the tune, it holds up very well in comparison. Ms. Lorin's Come Walk With Me is easily recommended.

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