Vanessa Rubin

Girl Talk

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AllMusic Review by

Jazz vocalist Vanessa Rubin is joined by a stellar cast on her second Telarc release. Bassist David Williams and drummer Lewis Nash hold down the rhythm, joined alternately by pianist/arrangers Larry Willis and Cedar Walton, tenor saxophonists Eric Alexander and Javon Jackson, and trombonist Steve Davis. Rubin's flexible voice covers a wide-ranging repertoire, from standards to Sondheim ("Loving You") to adult contemporary (Bill Withers and Larry Carlton's "Whatever Happens"). She also contributes a yearning original ballad, the closing "If You Ever Go Away." The album is memorable mostly for its offbeat tracks, however: a jazz-waltz take on "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" (with the bridge in a snappy four); Walter Bishop's novelty number, "Sex Is a Misdemeanor (The More You Miss, de Meaner You Get)," a perky calypso featuring Rubin's double-tracked vocal with only bass and drums; and the penultimate track, David Williams' endearing "Won't Have to Say Goodbye," which begins and ends with an implied reggae feel but swings in the middle. Rubin also delivers a splendid "One for My Baby" and invites the great Etta Jones for a tête-à-tête on "But Not for Me" and "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You."

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