Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Janine Gilbert-Carter's "Inside a Silent Tear"

One of the many fine singers around the Washington DC area, Janine Gilbert-Carter “lives at the intersection where jazz, blues and gospel all come together,” according to Jeff Gruber, who engineered Janine’s most recording, Inside a Silent Tear. Recorded at the Historic Blair mansion, she is backed by a terrific quartet comprised of Eric Byrd on keyboards, Wes ‘Sugar’ Biles on bass, Jeff Neal on drums and Brian Lee Settles on tenor sax on a set of some well known standards mixed with less familiar items to showcase her soulful singing.

A solid Ain’t Misbehavin’ opens this performance up with Eric Byrd’s piano providing the proper foil before taking a nice solo showing his touch, technique and restraint. I was not familiar with Bill Withers’ Grandma’s Hands, with its gospel-funk groove set by Wes Biles on an electric bass and Byrd on electronic keyboards showcases another side of Carter’s vocals on this gem of a song. The title song, from Blossom Dearie’s songbook, features some nice tenor sax from Brain Settles caressing Carter’s wistful vocal that displays the wonderful control and tone of her interpretation here. The tempo picks up for a relaxed, swinging All of Me, with a brief section which is almost a duet with bassist Biles. Carter, matched by the gospel-laced piano of Byrd, is quite impassioned here on a solid interpretation of Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come.

Everything Must Change is perhaps her finest performance of the many excellent ones here finding her on a reflective mood and followed by a swinging How High the Moon, with some nice scatting before another fine solo from pianist Bryd. There are nice accents in his playing and the arrangement here brings freshness to her wonderful take on this. Don’t Touch Me, another of the highlights, allows Carter to show her bluesy side, and Byrd’s solo here reminds me of the great Charles Brown. Nice and Easy is enlivened by its light latin groove. Carter gives this classic a more intimate feel than the well-known Sinatra recording. There are some understated tenor sax embellishments on this by Brian Settles. Settles solos with a feathery tone on both Our Love Is Here to Stay, and the closing Teach Me Tonight, in addition to Carter’s heartfelt vocals. 

Inside a Silent Tear shows why so many in the Washington DC area regard Janine Gilbert-Carter as a ‘local’ treasure. Her vocals are honey-toned, yet full of personality and soulfulness and the backing provided by her band is marvelous. Her website is http://www.janinecarter.com/index.php from which this can be purchased and it is also available at cdbaby.com. For those in Washington DC area, she is regularly at LaPorta’s in Alexandria, Virginia.

I purchased this CD.

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