1. Closer/You and the Night and the Music
2. Darn That Dream
3. Beautiful Love
4. Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
5. I Can't Give You Anything but Love
6. Lady Bird
7. I'm Gonna Laugh You Right out of my Life
8. Rendezvous with Yesterdays
9. These Foolish Things
10. Only One
Adia Ledbetter - Vocals
Ed Paolantonio - Piano
Justin C. Martin - Guitar
Freeman Ledbetter - Double bass violin
Orlandus Perry - Drums
As I may have hinted before, there are too many hopeful young singers trying to pass themselves off as jazz vocalists. Jazz singing is an art which involves having a feeling for jazz and the ability to improvise as well as to sing in tune. Too many of the singers appearing on the scene (especially female singers) lack one or more of these vital ingredients.
Happily, Adia Ledbetter has most of the necessary qualities, so I am happy to welcome her onto the scene. As the album title suggests, this is her second CD, although her debut album appeared eight years ago. Like many fine jazz vocalists, Adia started singing in her church choir, and you can hear hints of spirituals in her voice. She sings with a mixture of jazz and soul, and she obviously has jazz sensibility: taking liberties with melodies and crossing bar-lines effortlessly.
This is not to say that she is perfect. Adia messes up the lyrics of Darn That Dream by substituting "you" for "I" in "Darn that dream I dream each night". Her pitching tends to wander in Lady Bird and her own composition Only One. Her repertoire is not particularly adventurous, although her handling of familiar jazz standards helps the listener assess her talents. The title-track is marred by some rather sentimental spoken words.
On the plus side, Adia adds her own verses to a couple of songs, and she scats unaccompanied with total confidence in Beautiful Love. I Can't Give You Anything but Love is a tasty duet with bassist Freeman Ledbetter, and I'm Gonna Laugh You Right out of my Life stands up as a duet between vocalist and guitarist. On most tracks, Adia is backed by an excellent rhythm section, in which pianist Ed Paolantonio is outstanding. His solo on Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man is beautifully delicate. The waltz-time treatment of These Foolish Things is a novel approach.
Altogether, despite some tendencies that she should watch, Adia is a singer of promise - in fact, more promising than many of her competitors.