Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pamela Luss: Sweet and Saxy

Savant Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 10.1.09
Buy CD: Sweet and Saxy

This is the newest release by primo vocalist Pamela Luss, who — unfortunately for the rest of the world — makes her home and performs primarily in the New York City area. The rest of us have to make do with her annual albums.

Her 2007 release, Your Eyes, clearly indicated her potential; 2008's Magnet proved her talents as a top vocalist. Sweet And Saxy further confirms her talent and future.

As was the case on her previous releases, Luss is backed by an excellent, swinging group headed by tenor sax artist Houston Person. John di Martino continues to demonstrate that he's one of the better pianists and arrangers around; he's joined by guitarist James Chirillo, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Willie Jones III. These guys add immeasurably to this album's quality.

The dozen tracks include covers of some wonderful old tunes that we haven't heard in years: “Canadian Sunset,” “You Better Go Now,” “Why Was I Born” and “Ain't No Sunshine” are just a few of the songs that my generation grew up to. They're long overdo for encores.

Because of her mellow voice and gorgeous phrasing, Luss is most impressive on ballads, but this album also contains a number of mid- to up-tempo tunes that prove Luss can sing anything ... particularly when backed by the likes of Houston Person and crew.

It'll be tough to wait another year for Luss' next album!

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