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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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ANTOINETTE MONTAGUE

Behind the Smile

IGV In the Groove 212

 

 

1. Behind the Smile
2. I Hadn’t Anyone till You
3. Give Your Mama One Smile
4. Ever Since the One I Love’s Been Gone
5. What’s Going On
6. The Song is You
7. I’d Rather Have a Memory Than a Dream
8. Lost in Meditation
9. Get Ready
10. Summer Song
11. Somewhere in the Night
12. Meet Me at No Special Place
13. 23rd Psalm

Antoinette Montague - Vocals
Mulgrew Miller - Piano
Bill Easley - Sax, reeds, flute
Kenny Washington – Drums
Peter Washington – Bass

 

With the release of her second album Behind The Smile, jazz and blues singer Antoinette Montague has taken a major step towards recognition as an attractive voice in today’s crowded landscape of female jazz singers.

While not necessarily a ”game changer”, the album amplifies Ms. Montague’s talent not only as a singer but also as a composer of the album’s storytelling title-tune Behind The Smile, and as an arranger of all the tunes on the album in collaboration with pianist Mulgrew Miller. The songs are a mix of standards, blues, Motown, and gospel which Ms. Montague offers in her own minimalist style. With unfailing support from a very strong jazz band of Mulgrew Miller piano, Peter Washington bass, Kenny Washington drums and with Bill Easley on reeds, Ms. Montague darts in and out of each tune after establishing the melody, allowing members of the group ample time to solo and then returns for the out chorus. This is particularly evident on Ever Since The One I Love’s Been Gone where Peter Washington’s bass solo is sparkling. She blows through in a boisterous fashion a couple of Motown swingers namely Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and the Smokey Robinson hit Get Ready. She also delves into her roots in the blues with the Bill Broonzy classic Give Your Mama One Smile where Bill Easley’s clarinet supports the blues experience. In addition she is particularly effective on a little-heard vocal rendition of the Dave Brubeck tune Summer Song.

Although she offers very capable renditions on a couple of standards, namely Ray Noble’s I Hadn’t Anyone till You and the Kern & Hammerstein II chestnut The Song is You, nothing new has been added to their interpretations.

The album has been beautifully recorded under the direction of producer, drummer Kenny Washington, and it should enhance the growing reputation of Ms. Montague.

Pierre Giroux



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