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

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Promises to Burn

Tall Grass TGB 281



1. Funkaliero

2. Midnight Voyage

3. Some Other Time

4. Lennie’s Pennies

5. Silver Hollow.

6. You Don’t Know What Love Is

7. RunFerYerLife

8. If You Could See Me Now


Janice Borla – Vocals

Scott Robinson - Tenor sax, flute

Art Davis – Trumpet, flugelhorn

John McLean – Guitars

Bob Bowman – Bass

Jack Mouse - Drums


I have developed an understandable scepticism about the glut of female vocalists that currently threatens to swamp the jazz world. But there are some singers I can make exceptions for, and Janice Borla is one of those. She is an American singer who has been running vocal jazz camps for many years with her husband, drummer Jack Mouse. In an interview, Borla says that she doesn’t so much concentrate on technique with the students as “generating awareness of this genre…it is an instrumental genre in which they participate”.

Janice’s emphasis on the instrumental side of jazz is evident in this CD, where she does a lot of scatting: maybe a little too much scatting. It is very impressive when she scats in unison with the instrumental members of her band, as she does on Lennie’s Pennies (an impressive display of precision). Yet she often breaks into scatting when one would be glad to hear the lyrics again.

Janice has a lightweight voice (you can’t imagine her belting out a song at a large arena) but, despite the very occasional intonational query, it is well in tune and expressive.

Her accompanists are all top-class, especially saxist/flautist Scott Robinson, whose Getzian tenor supplies many fine solos, as does guitarist John McLean. Note how Scott’s tenor shadows Janice sensitively on such tracks as Some Other Time. Art Davis has a pleasingly furry tone on trumpet and flugel. Bass and drums do all that is required of them (good drum intro and solo on RunFerYerLife).

This album is a gratifying surprise.

Tony Augarde

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