Romantic music is always welcome in my playlist. Add to that a first class jazz production with with an exceptional voice like Beth Duncan’s, and you have an inkling of an idea as to how good her new album, “Comes The Fall” is. “Come This Fall” is a 14 course (track) gourmet feast for the ears. The rhythm section arranging was done with guitarist Steve Homan, Mike McMullen on tenor and flute, Bill Douglass on bass, and drummer/producer Guy Kowarsh who is also the CD’s producer. Featured on this session are Jim Martinez on keyboards, Babatunde Lea and Brian Kendrick on percussion. and Steve Roach on trumpet solos.
In jazz, it’s all about your sound, and Beth Duncan is blessed with a voice that has great musical range, and tonal color. She creates an enchanting blend with the tenor sax on her title track “Come This Fall”. The opening phrases immediately catch your attention, and the strings Jim Martinez provides on the keys add sweet elegance to the arrangement.
Ms Duncan’s phrasing shines on “How High The Moon”, with the duet of voice and percussion leading to solos with the harmon muted trumpet of Steve Roach, and impressive guitar voicings from Steve Homan. Listening to this cut, one notices how clean the brushes from the drummer sound as he swings the band along with solid bass from Bill Douglass. The mix throughout the cd is excellent.
One note about the great arranging, and what I found especially enjoyable was when Beth vocalizes with the ensemble such as with the sax on “Come This Fall”, and with the guitar and flute on the jazz waltz, “I’m On A Cloud”. Recently it was only Esperanza, or the Grammy nominated Denise Donatelli’s “When Lights Are Low” where I could hear intricate voice with ensemble on this level. Kudos to Steve Homan and Beth Duncan’s great talent. As a jazz musician, and radio host at KJZZ, Phoenix, I would not hesitate to recommend this to my listeners, or radio program directors across the country. If you still need convincing cue up “Embraceable You”, with voice and bass. It’s happening.