No less than Ike Turner and Charlie Daniels have raving quotes in the packaging of the famed R&B/soul/jazz belter's rip-roaring, funky, and swinging mix of originals and standards from the worlds of rock and jazz -- but the former Ikette could have had numerous other legends chime in. She's worked with 'em all, singing with Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Leon Russell, and Carly Simon and having tunes recorded by everyone from the Staple Singers to Hank Williams, Jr. Although she returned from a long musical hiatus with 2002's Nashville date I'm Still the Same, this collection signals her full-scale return to the soul sounds that inspired her jazz fame in St. Louis and rock notoriety in L.A. The way she bursts from the gate, rockin' on "Love the One You're With" and jamming on her edgy original blues number "I Can Laugh About It Now," the listener is prepared for a fiery party -- but then she pulls a low-key seductive jazz rabbit out of her hat. And not just on standards, either, though she pays homage to greats like Cannonball Adderley and classic dates like "Harlem Nocturne." She cleverly turns Chuck Berry's "No Particular Place to Go" into a cool, organic meditation, and lets "I'm Confessin'" simmer in a dreamy jazz blues stew. There's a sweet balance throughout between graceful reflections like "That Lucky Old Sun" and swinging barnburners like her own "Gotcha," with blistering twists on Sam Cooke and "Love Hurts" thrown in for good measure. Providing full support is her Nashville-based ensemble, Mr. Groove, which is more than up to every rhythmic and harmonic task her stylistic diversity demands. It's almost like she can't decide if she wants to be a jazz singer or a blues-rocker who loves R&B. So she does it all.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran