Barbara Reed

This Was Meant to Be

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In an ideal world, Barbara Reed would have done a lot of recording in the '80s. But her debut album, This Was Meant to Be (which the Los Angeles-based singer recorded in the mid-'80s), is the only album that she provided during that decade. This underexposed LP is hardly the work of a jazz purist. Reed is quite capable of singing bop and straight-ahead jazz -- the swinging "Celebrate" and the pensive "Song One," for example, are essentially straight-ahead -- but on the whole, This Was Meant to Be has as much to do with pop and R&B as it does with jazz. Therefore, most of the record should not be judged by straight-ahead jazz or bop standards. And when non-straight-ahead standards are applied, one has to say that This Was Meant to Be is an enjoyable debut. If you expect everything on Reed's first album to sound like a bop-oriented, standards-minded Ella Fitzgerald session from 1951, you will be disappointed. If, however, you are looking for something along the lines of what Nancy Wilson (one of Reed's influences) and Diane Schuur were doing in the mid-'80s, you will find a lot to enjoy about Reed originals like "Not That Way This Time," "The Child in You," and "The Tear Returns to Me." Reed, in fact, wrote most of the songs on This Was Meant to Be, which finds her joined by West Coast NAC/pop-jazz players such as electric bassist Max Bennett and saxophonist Sam Riney. Unfortunately, this LP was not reissued on CD in either the '80s or 90s; when the 21st century rolled around, This Was Meant to Be had yet to be reissued on CD. But Reed's debut album is worth hearing if you come across either the LP or cassette versions.

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