Shea Breaux Wells: Oh Yes, I Remember Clifford


Oh Yes, I Remember Clifford



A Blind Date (Ultimate)

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Shea Breaux Wells (vocals), George Cables (piano), Cecil McBee (bass), Billy Hart (drums).

Composed by Benny Golson and Jon Hendricks


Recorded: Forestville, CA, June 6-7, 2007


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

If you happen to frequent the addictive website and listen to its Vocal Jazz channel, you may occasionally hear a track from Shea Breaux Wells' self-released A Blind Date CD, and wonder why you haven't heard of her before. For every Diana Krall, Cassandra Wilson, or Diane Reeves, there are countless other relatively obscure female (and male) jazz singers honing their skills, working hard, and hoping for a break--lucky or otherwise--in the very competitive, limited opportunity field of jazz. Wells' CD came about when a number of top-flight jazz musicians were in Healdsburg, CA, for its annual jazz festival in June 2007, and the event's producer suggested to local resident Wells that she utilize their readily available talents for her second recording session.

The selection "Oh Yes, I Remember Clifford" is just one of many that show off Wells' fresh and mature vocal stylings, as well as her rapport with a noticeably inspired ad hoc "backup" group (formidable saxophonist Craig Handy sat this one out). Of course, this is Benny Golson's "I Remember Clifford," but with Jon Hendricks' lyrics added--hence the slight title change for copyright/royalty reasons. Wells' slightly throaty, resonant vocal quality is appropriate and touchingly effective for her treatment of Hendricks' eulogy to Clifford Brown. Cables' chordal piano and McBee's resounding bass lines offer a strong foundation for both the singer and David Weiss's Brownie-indebted, fluidly melodic trumpet solo. The pianist's profound improvisation is but one of many examples of how well he has been playing this decade. Wells' reiteration of the theme sustains her emotionally absorbed, warm approach. The piece is capped by moving departing assertions from the enviable team of Cables, McBee, and Billy Hart.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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