Vanessa Rubin has never received the attention that Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, or Diana Krall have, despite being regularly lauded by many of the wise old instrumental heads in jazz. Here she embraces classic material, the likes of "Love for Sale," "I Didn't Know About You," "If I Should Lose You," "Everytime We Say Goodbye," and "The Summer Knows" among the 11 tracks. Her good company this time out includes pianist George Colligan, bassist Richie Goods, drummer Dwayne "Cook" Broadnax, and special guests Billy Higgins on drums, Freddy Cole on vocals, and Henry Johnson on guitar. Rubin and company freshen up the familiars with clever arrangements and melodious playing. Clearly more comfortable in this environment than in the R&B crossover realm that's intrigued her in the 1990s, Rubin has a jazzy lilt back in her voice. Of special note is her unusual treatment of the classic "Corcovado," taken at a languid tempo that allows the lyrics to breathe, bringing a new level of aching, longing pathos to Antonio Carlos Jobim's exquisite tune, perhaps a nod to Rubin's slow-singing Cleveland homeboy Jimmy Scott. Throughout the record, pianist Colligan's role is a key, his accompaniment doing more to increase Rubin's sense of challenge than merely making things comfortable. --Willard Jenkins
NR (Not Rated)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I chose this cd for the two tracks where Freddy Cole accompanies Vanessa - "Nice N Easy" and "Every Time We Say Goodbye". Both well done tunes. I got a chance to appreciate Vanessa Rubin as a result.
After five recordings for Novus, vocalist Vanessa Rubin has moved on to the Telarc Jazz label, and her debut here finds her returning to her jazz roots. Rubin's last CD for Novus, "New Horizons," was an interesting and for the most part successful push for a more R&B-flavored sound. My feelings about "Languaage of Love" are somewhat more mixed. Things get off to a rather weak start with two standards, Cole Porter's "Love For Sale" and Duke Ellington's "I Didn't Know About You." Both sound more like warm-up sessions rather than finished products. Luckily, things get better as this CD progresses. The highlight is "Fantastic Episode," a scat romp in which Rubin really cooks. There are also two nice duets with Freddy Cole that bring back fond memories of Louis and Ella. Rubin also offers a heartfelt "Early Autumn" and her reworking of "Corcovado" is quite imaginative.
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