Going out on a limb it is not so risqué to proclaim that you won’t find another singer who vocalizes music – including this classic music – quite like Tia Brazda. While Brazda may owe much to both Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse, she has a fully formed style that is wholly her own. Her wide-open articulation, characterized by the sultry, aspirated “ah” when she uses the first person pronoun “I” is as unique as it is beckoning, and it is something you are not likely to tire of as she glides through these nine songs on her fifth disc When I Get Low.
Brazda traverses the mezzo-soprano tonal range with ease. But her intonation is uniquely smoky. Moreover, she has a singing style that is made for the pathos of songs such as Lullaby of Leaves, When I Get Low, I Get High and Smile. She can catch both pathos and agitation with tenderly softened tones, made for the graceful love repertoire on this disc (such as the spectacularly evocative I’ll Be Seeing You).
The members of the ensemble that back Brazda prove themselves to be both subtle and idiomatic interpreters of these songs which they illuminate (as if) with dim gaslight on the darkened alleys off Broadway. Soloists Mike Freedman (guitar), Joel Visentin (piano), Alexis Baro (trumpet) and Drew Jurecka (violin, bandoneón) create an atmospheric setting for Brazda’s gorgeously sullen, long-limbed narratives and floating and spinning lines to unfold with bewitching beauty.