Thursday, June 22, 2017

Andrea Claburn: Nightshade

Lot 49 Labs LLC
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Nightshade

San Francisco-based Andrea Claburn isn’t well known beyond the schools where she earned two bachelor of arts degrees, the musicians with whom she has worked, and the still limited audiences before whom she has performed ... but that’s about to change. This debut album presents an artist who is both a terrific vocalist, and a talented songwriter and arranger. She composed five of these 12 tracks, and arranged all but one.

Claburn was brought up with music; her mother was a classical pianist, and young Andrea began piano lessons at age 6, and added violin two years later. “I think like an instrumentalist,” she has noted, “because that’s where everything began for me.”

She has a delightfully warm voice, phrases beautifully, and “thinks in jazz.” 

Claburn also has great taste in accompanists. The backing musicians here are excellent: Matt Clark (keyboards), Kasey Knudsen and Teddy Raven (saxes), Erik Jekabson (trumpet and flugelhorn), Rob Ewing (trombone), Sam Bevan (bass), Terrence Brewer (guitar), Alan Hall (drums) and John Santos (percussion). One track, “Steal Away,” also utilizes violinist/violist Mads Tolling and cellist Joseph Hébert.

I’m particularly impressed by Jekabson, one of the tastiest horn players I’ve heard in quite some time.

Several tracks pay homage to musical greats, such as Ellington’s “Infinite Wisdom,” Betty Carter’s “I Can’t Help It” and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark.” Claburn’s original compositions more than hold their own.

This is an enjoyable treat, and an outstanding debut album. I’ve only one minor caveat: Several tracks end too abruptly, which is a bit jarring. Other than that, this lady’s debut is a sure winner.

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