05 Jazz 02 Barbra LicaKissing You
Barbra Lica
Independent BLM-1401C (barbralica.com)

It’s encouraging to see good, young singers emerge in the jazz realm. It’s even more encouraging to see them thrive and grow as Barbra Lica has with her second album Kissing You. That said, Lica may not satisfy jazz purists, as she has strong pop elements in her work, especially in her original material. Similar to her first album, Kissing You alternates between clever originals (eight of the 11 tracks) and imaginative reworkings of standards. Genre aside, what Lica is consistently very good at is getting a story across. Her pretty, girlish voice (shades of Stacey Kent and Blossom Dearie) is well-suited to her material. Her lyric writing amuses on the lighter songs such as Canoe (“You’re no dreamboat but you’re a really nice canoe”) and touches us on the more serious That’s What I Hate, about the end of a romance. The reworkings of the standards really stood out for me as genuinely fresh approaches, in particular on Cole Porter’s I Get A Kick Out of You, where the George Martinesque take gives us a renewed and charming song.

Keyboard player and arranger Lou Pomanti is in the producer’s chair and his sensitive and inventive playing is a feature of the album, along with other leading Toronto musicians such as Reg Schwager on guitar, Mark Kelso on drums, Marc Rogers on bass and Kevin Turcotte on trumpet. The ensemble is showcased brilliantly on the title track which has a sweeping, film score quality – perhaps for a film about an up-and-coming young singer…

Pin It
Author: Cathy Riches
For a list of writings by this author, click the name above
More from this author:

Back to top