Ray Gallon (piano): Cameron Brown (bass): Anthony Pinciotti (drums)
Recorded August 2017, NYC
I'm Running Late
The Night We Couldn't Say Good Night
Love Walked In
You're Almost Perfect
This Could Be the Start of Something Big
Interlude (A Night in Tunisia)
Si Tu Pudieras Quererme (You and the Night and the Music)
Speak Softly, Love
Plus je t’embrasse
The Moon Was Yellow
How Did I Know This Was the End?
It’s not every day that Will Friedwald writes liner notes so he must like
Angela Verbrugge, four of whose originals grace this 13-track album. With
her companionable trio of Ray Gallon (piano), Cameron Brown (bass) and
Anthony Pinciotti (drums) she laid down this album back in August 2017. I
like to see this disc as a kind of narrative arc in which themes of love,
longing, loss, and the question of time are ever-present companions. It’s
no surprise, surely, that the disc opens with a head-spinning original
called I’m Running Late and ends with her own How Did I Know This Was The End? An album with a bold, delineated
- though often quizzically narrated - structure is a rare thing to find.
That introductory piece, with her vocal-instrumental solo tongue-twisting
its way through the witty lyrics has a Blossom Dearie-like stance; not
quite as coy, maybe, but under no illusions. With its lightly Latin feel The Night We Couldn't Say Good Night hopes that love will work out
and Ray Gallon’s crisp pianism lends lyric support over the springy rhythm.
The teasing vocal introduction to All Too Soon – the vocal
artist’s equivalent of Erroll Garner’s legerdemain and wrong-footing
introductions – shows the deft qualities Verbrugge possesses and the
vocal-and-arco-bass intro to her tune You’re Almost Perfect (note
the inevitable qualification in the title) unveils a recitative of
unsettled love. The bittersweet lines ‘You may not be the right one/But you
give me such a thrill’ might almost be the beating heart of this disc.
There’s a splendidly up-tempo Steve Allen piece called This Could Be the
Start of Something Big (but again note the ‘could’) whilst on
the ‘Sarah Vaughan’ version ofA Night in Tunisia Gallon turns
in a downward Monkish run. You and the Night and the Music takes
on a slinky cut via the Spanish lyrics whereas there’s sprightly,
almost Stride-like Gallon accompaniment in places on the French-language
Plus je t’embrasse. There are some very astute arrangements
which allow instruments to sit out, or incrementally to join in, as
well as a pleasing variety of material and a good balance between
originals and standards. I especially enjoyed the laid-back and evocative
The Moon Was Yellow.
If this album traces the flustered start of a relationship and finishes
with the end of the affair it does so with a sure sense of emotional
direction through the medium of well-selected and finely performed songs.
Verbrugge is a literate and articulate song writer, as well as a fine
singer, and someone to catch if she’s in your neck of the woods.