Carol Frazier

Life's a Ride

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A voice that has a depth and strength below the surface, Carol Frazier doesn't get started on the right track. The spoken-word verses on "Break My Fall" heighten the vocals during the jazzy chorus, but dampen what might have been an improved beginning. Steve Boyton's guitar solo and dexterity compensates partially for the wrong musical foot, though. Much more polished and swinging are "Holy Roller Swing" and "Hypocrite," both having their hip horn sections. Frazier doesn't break out of her mold until "If You Only Knew," a song similar to Diana Krall or Norah Jones in quality and ability. Supported by a sparse but durable supporting cast, the singer hits all the right points and, more importantly, at the right moments. Continuing the momentum on "One Word," Frazier makes the most of a world music/pop and gospel crossover sound. Horns and a slow aerobic-exercise tempo result in a bouncy title track despite the rather corny lyrics. Performing a cover of the Police's "Walking on the Moon" is a daring proposition, but she holds her own with a whispering and sultry style over a Latin jazz arrangement. A couple of songs don't quite measure up, particularly the standard jazz idea on "Angels Can Fly" that features a bit of Ella Fitzgerald-like scat over Taylor Mesple's strong piano work. Of note, though, is the funky vibe on "Janey Lane," a duet between Steve Amedee and Frazier that is one of the easy highlights to notice. A touch of Celtic-inspired music finishes the record during "It Is Well." The album is sinfully soothing.

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