It Ain't Necessarily So is Tina May's third album as a leader for the UK record label 33Jazz. A play list consisting of a mix of standards and originals that is chock full of musical surprises makes for an exciting, entertaining session. May is accompanied by a variety of musicians in a variety of settings which assures us that things will never get boring. The kick off track, the title tune, is an appealing harbinger of things to come. Joining with double bass player Arnie Somogyi for a stunning interpretation of this tune, which questions some of the Bible's most popular rubrics, May's fresh interpretation is heightened by her intelligent scatting used to emphasize the skepticism this song embodies. "Rosy Glow," an original that was co-composed by tenor sax player Don Weller and May, is an upbeat paean to Weller's granddaughter. Although it may be too heavy for some tastes, the use of the Britten String Quartet on "Chelsea Bridge" adds a touch of solemnity appropriate for this Billy Strayhorn classic. The same can be said about the only other appearance of the quartet on Duke Ellington's "Solitude." May demonstrates her versatility, not only with regard to delivery styles, but with delivery in languages other than English on "Wanting to Be Home" and "Les Feuilles Mortes." On the former, she joins the acoustic guitar of Dylan Fowler in almost a folk song rendition of this original penned by May and Fowler. On the latter tune, which translates to "Autumn Leaves," her language skills are brought out by singing a very slow, sultry first chorus in French then seguing into up tempo English lyrics. This cut also features the jazzy piano of David Newton, some great bass work by Wayne Batchelor, and non-frenetic drumming by Clark Tracey. Aided and abetted by the boppish tenor sax of Don Weller, May goes vocalese on the album's coda, "Writer's Block." All in all, with the different styles and instrumentation, this is much more than just a satisfactory album.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan