Dec 3 2013
The voice of Nancy Harms has the power to light cigarettes and make ’em smolder all night long. Following on the heels of her inspired performance on Jeremy Siskind’s Finger-Songwriter, one of 2012’s best releases, Harms returns with a quartet date that highlights her casual, seductive delivery. And though a couple album tracks on Dreams In Apartments do allow her vocal cords to raise their heart rate a bit, ultimately, it’s those songs that behave like moonlight that are most likely to draw the ear in and never let it go.
Your album personnel: Nancy Harms (vocals), Aaron Parks (piano), RJ Miller (drums), Danton Boller (bass), and guests: John Hart (guitar) on about half of the album tracks and Wycliffe Gordon (trumpet) on one track.
Tracks like “From My First Moment” and “It Could Happen To You” glow strongest of that moonlight. On the former track, Parks and Hart send out glittering notes on piano and guitar, an enchantment greatly enhanced by the entrance of Boller on bass arco. And the latter of those two tracks highlights the ability of Harms to deliver a heartbreaking verse with the fluttering lightness of doves.
Her rendition of “Mood Indigo” further illustrates her way of putting heartbreak to song. Voice heavy with emotion, she lights a path for the quartet to stroll pleasantly down. There is a togetherness here stronger than any other album track. It’s a different feel on “Out Of Comfort,” a song that has the disassembled presence of a dream. Harms’s cooing voice is accompanied nicely by Hart’s electric guitar, which remains unobtrusive in the background while adding orange sunset to the blue horizon of Parks’ piano contribution.
“While We’re Young” is a chipper tune, bolstered by some nice brush work from Miller. “Something Real” is, also, an up-tempo tune. It lets the volume rise, though not without getting in a catchy melody to hang onto for the ride. The only weak spot on the album is another faster piece… “Weight of the World” is all pop song, and doesn’t really provide the space which Harms so deftly is able to fill on her own, with succinct, evocative phrases. But that’s a small criticism for what remains an enjoyable, solid new recording from the vocalist.
Here’s a video for the album track “Mood Indigo”:
Released on Gazelle Records.
Jazz from NYC.
Other Things You Should Know:
Here’s a link to my review of Jeremy Siskind‘s Finger-Songwriter, a trio album of pianist Siskind, vocalist Harms, and reed man Lucas Pino. It got a top ten slot on my Best of 2012 list. I highly recommend it.
Portions of this review was originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to that reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…
“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprint courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2013 eMusic.com, Inc.
As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig. Cheers.