Blue Note

Menu

The Finest In Jazz Since 1939
High Fidelity


A Little Moonlight (2003)

Releases

Back to
Nicholas Payton

With the meteoric success of Norah Jones' debut in the early 2000s, the message was clear: there's a real hunger for straightforward tunes with minimal froufrou. Jones' producer, Arif Mardin, has assembled another likely hit with A Little Moonlight, a collection of appealing standards. Empathically supported by Dianne Reeves' working trio, every track showcases her exceptionally rich and lovely instrument. Although longterm fans may consider her a bit subdued, her soulfulness is very much in evidence, and her voice, as always, goes down like mulled wine. There are samples of her trademark whimsical scatting, especially on the charming opener, "Loads of Love," "I'm All Smiles," and the grin-inducing "What a Little Moonlight Can Do." "I'm All Smiles" features a fine solo by the excellent pianist Peter Martin, who, like Ruben Rogers and Gregory Hutchinson, is terrific throughout. Peaks include two delicious duos with guest Romero Lubambo, the elegant Brazilian guitarist who's been on her last four albums: the airy "I Concentrate on You" and the yearning "Darn That Dream." Reeves' inspired pairing with Nicholas Payton on "You Go to My Head" has the intimate feel of closing time at a jazz club: the patrons are gone, the chairs are stacked on the tables, but the musicians still have something urgent and deeply personal to say. Even when the trio joins in, the after-hours atmosphere endures, with Payton scrolling around Reeves' lines and taking a magnificently misty solo. In "We'll Be Together Again," Reeves evokes the ghost of Sarah Vaughan -- another purely musical singer gifted with a flexible, velvety voice and soulful, natural phrasing. Double Grammy-winner Reeves had long been a genre-buster, so this straight-ahead album is a precedent for her; accessible and thoroughly enjoyable, it will undoubtedly gain her a whole new audience, while staying true to the banner of jazz. Recommended. ~ Judith Schlesinger