CD Review: “Anyplace I Hang My Hat

CD Review: “Anyplace I Hang My Hat”

— Mark Stryker, Free Press music critic

“There’s a wonderful and deceptive casualness to Detroit jazz singer Barbara Ware’s approach to a standard. She sidesteps histrionics like taffy-pull phrasing  and vulgar ornamentation in favor of straightforward delivery of the material that puts a premium on communicating the lyrics. Yet she is no cabaret singer. Her legato phrasing at bounce tempos swings with a relaxed confidence that’s 100 percent  jazz. 

Ware also has a way of opening up her vibrato on stretched-out vowels and snapping off a phraise with a biting consonant that connects her to the pulse of her trio. You  can hear this in swingers like “Remember” as well as on ballads like “Lush Life,” where even the rubato introduction retains the forward momentum that mirrors pianist Cliff Monear’s waterfall elaborations.

Monear has become a favorite of area singers for good reason: He has a gift for adding a melodic leading edge to his accompaniment that pushes the music into  new expressive territory without hogging the spotlight. His harmonic imagination finds rewarding new paths through “Stella By Starlight,” “Lush Life” and others. Monear’s lock-step trio includes bassist Nick Calandro and drummer Ennix Buchanan.

Link to CD