Janiece Jaffe

It Takes Two

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For her second album as a leader, Indiana denizen Janiece Jaffe has chosen to limit her accompaniment to guitar and bass, each separately. Guitar player Marcos Cavalcante provides the support on six cuts, while bass player Tom Hildreth is on the remaining eight tracks. Jaffe is in good company with just the one instrument approach. Sheila Jordan recorded with bass players Arild Andersen and Harvie Swartz behind her. More recently, fine Chicago songstress Jackie Allen has recorded with bass player Hans Sturm. On the guitar/voice side, Nancy King has been to the studio with guitar player Glen Moore to turn out exceptional albums.

With this sparse instrumental assistance, the singer has to be ready to carry more of the performance than she otherwise would. The results of Jaffe's efforts are mixed. She has exceptional range, good diction and works well with her accompanists. Her voice carries a slight vibrato which she uses to good effect, especially at the end of a phrase. On some cuts, however, she stays too long at the higher end of her range causing her voice to get a bit thin, as on "My Romance" and "Angel Eyes." Hildreth saves the track with some choice bass soloing. When Jaffe takes a more balanced direction, using her full vocal capacity, the results are more satisfying, as on a blusey "Just a Lucky So and So," highlighted by some good wordless vocalizing. Another outstanding rendition comes with "Gentle Rain." Both these cuts find her with Cavalcante's guitar, which fits her voice better than the bass, at least on this disc. The very good vocal/bass rendition of "Till There Was You," however, shows that it is possible for Jaffe to work well with a bass without straining. But this cut is the exception rather than the rule. Nonetheless, this CD has much to offer and will be a welcome addition to one's vocal collection.

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