Karin Williams is a gem awaiting discovery by fans of vocal jazz. A native of the West Indies who has settled in New Orleans and become a regular attraction in the downtown scene (primarily at the Ritz-Carlton), this self-produced CD evidently marks her debut as a leader. Focusing primarily on standards, the arrangements by Williams, pianist Darrell Lavigne, bassist David Pulphus, and drummer Troy Davis complement her sensual voice. Her lightly swinging take of "Moonlight in Vermont" is full of playfulness, accented by the solos of tenor saxophonist Brice Winston (who slyly detours into "Rockin' in Rhythm") and Lavigne. Lavigne's fresh scoring of "They Can't Take That Away From Me" brings new life to this venerable standard, showcasing Williams in an upbeat setting. She's also able to capture the essence of the lovely bossa nova "Estate," and especially excels in the exotic post-bop treatment (with Latin rhythms and Hart McNee's bass flute) of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." Williams is equally at home revisiting a swing favorite like "Don't Be That Way," though the introduction to this version has a definite New Orleans flavor. The finale, "Relax Awhile," is Williams' own, a bluesy but sensuous vehicle that also features fine playing by Winston, trumpeter Christian Scott, and guitarist John Bagnato. This excellent CD is available through the artist's website at www.karinwilliams.net.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden