Journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society
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Here's To You...
C. Michael Bailey
Wednesday, November 8, 2016
Synia Carroll: Here’s To You...
Et in terra. Honesty in music is expressed in its simplicity. The first right thing that vocalist Synia Carroll does on her debut recording, Here's to You... is employ a jazz piano trio, the subatomic format for jazz: piano, bass, and drums. The second thing that Carroll does is fix her art in the earth, something older artists fail to do until later in their career, to their considerable disadvantage as I hear it. Carroll does two things here also. She mixes the frankly carnal with the grown up in "Be My Husband." This is responsible, grown up music like that of Dr. Louise Van Aarsen and Sue Sheriff. Grownups making grownup music. The second is she presents her art unadorned with synthetic production, to very great effect. Wow...this is how it is supposed to sound.
In a baker's dozen of standards (and not-so-standards) Carroll thrusts her sword in the ground, announcing her presence. The singer demonstrates a cheeky sense of humor in a performance of "My Favorite Things" introduced as Miles Davis' 4/4 modal "Milestones" before transforming into the more familiar waltz-time. Carroll's delivery is muscular and vibrant...a nice take on a well-worn jazz warhorse. Pianist Billy Marcus punctuates his solo with staccato runs and bluesy glisses. This performance cooks. As hot as "Favorite Things" is, the singer and trio ably cool off for a tender "My Foolish Heart." Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue" is taken humidly over the top with some deft drumming from Stephen Buckholtz}} and Max Kelly's sensual percussion. Carroll is in full flight with a scat full of the Islands.
The cool diptych of Bob Dorough's "Devil May Care" and Burke and Webster's "Black Coffee" show that a single coin has two different sides while remaining the same body. The former is a brisk reading heavy on the downbeat, wide open for Carroll's exacting delivery. On the latter, Carroll adopts a more relaxed posture, full of burnt joe and honey. The singer proves her bilingual bona fides with a spirited "Tristeza" before closing with a potent "Here's to Life." Synia Carroll makes her debut as a fully formed creative entity. This disc is not a trial balloon testing the often-fickle jazz audience. It is a definitive statement of an artist who has arrived and done so definitively.
Personnel: Synia Carroll: vocals; Billy Marcus: piano; Don Mopsick: bass; Stephen Buckholtz: drums; Max Kelly: percussion (1, 6, 11).
Synia Carroll, Here’s To You (self-produced)
Sarasota-based Synia Carroll is out with a gem of a debut recording. Here’s To You… teams the singer with her steady rhythm section. The trio members – pianist Billy Marcus, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Stephen Bucholtz – are terrific accompanists and soloists in their own right and bring much to the music. Dig their groove and Marcus’s romping solo on “My Favorite Things.” Max Kelly adds Latin percussion on three tracks. Carroll has a wonderful lilt and an innate sense of time that enables her to wrap herself inside a song and make it her own. Much to her credit here, she stayed away from the most tiresome standards, opting for ones deserving more attention. Gems here include her takes on the Nina Simone hit “Be My Husband,” Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro-Blue” and the smoldering “Black Coffee.” Other favorites: “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” Edu Lobo’s “Tristeza” (“Goodbye Sadness” and the Shirley Horn-Joe Williams staple “Here’s to Life.” She’s used them to paint her own portrait of love and romance.
Synia Carroll’s new CD production, Here’s To You . . . is bound for instant classic status. Boasting a variety of styles that make every cut a revelation, the depth and warmth of Synia’s voice is unequaled in the world of new contemporary female jazz singers. Her mastery of vocal control and emotion make for a transcendental musical experience. As a bonus, Synia's accompanying jazz trio adds an extra dimension of performance excellence. What a wonderful contribution!
Dennis G. Waring
October 14, 2016
Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes
Monday, October 10, 2016
With a varied musical background, SYNIA CARROLL eventually found her way to the world of standards and jazz. At the time Carroll was teaching school, and gigging part time, but the call of jazz soon became her primary focus, and she moved from Connecticut to Sarasota where she quickly found a place on the jazz scene. Now she has recorded Here’s to You… (Self-Produced), and it shows that Carroll has developed into a singer who combines musicality and a feeling for lyrics that make this album sound like one by a veteran recording artist. She has with her a trio led by pianist Billy Marcus, with Don Mopsick on bass and Stephen Bucholtz on drums. There are 13 songs on her program, a blend of ballads and faster tempo selections that she handles with equal aplomb. Among the tunes are “My Favorite Things,” “My Foolish Heart,” ‘This Can’t Be Love,” “Devil May Care” and “Nobody Else But Me.” This album should spread the word about Synia Carroll beyond Sarasota. (www.syniacarrolljazz.com)