Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sherry Petta This Is Why 2005

Did I mention that I like light jazz vocal music, especially female vocalists? Diana Krall, Stacey Kent, Karrin Allyson, Jane Monheit, Valerie Joyce, and now Sherry Petta. I think I heard her on Pandora, listened to some samples, and then bought this CD.

Petta is an Arizona native with a great voice and a wonderful feel for phrasing. She has played LA quite a bit and was awarded Jazz Artist of the Year at the 2007 and 2008 Los Angeles Music Awards. This CD is from 2005 and Sherry has a newer one out called Endlessly, released last October.

There is nothing I can say that will get you suitably excited about this record. Sherry is backed by a quite capable group of musicians in your standard jazz combo of bass, drums, guitar, piano and saxophone. The songs are standards you've heard before- If I Had You, Teach Me Tonight, You Don't Know Me. The recording is good. The song arrangements are nothing amazing, but there are some nice approaches that keep the music from sounding like everybody else. Petta's voice is lovely, always spot on pitch, and without any distinctive coloration (not smokey, not nasal, not coquettish).

So why should you buy this record instead of the many other choices "just like it". Sherry Petta is just that little bit better at singing these songs than most of the other voices that try. And again, it is her phrasing that makes the difference. Her way with these songs is subtle, and at first you think this is just like any number of "local" artists that have gone into a studio with skilled musicians and made this same record. But this one is better, and by a considerable margin. And Sherry Petta is why. She sings the daylights out of every song, and still sounds like she's just relaxing and letting it happen. Did I mention her wonderful phrasing?

There's even three Petta originals mixed in that are excellent tunes. Again, nothing I can say here can prepare you for how good this CD is. In fact, it will probably take a few listens before you realize it yourself. But I think you'll get it, and I think you'll like it.

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