A mix of familiar and obscure
Reviewed February 2010
Wild Women of Song
By Pamela Rose
Three Handed Records: 2009
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Bay area blues/jazz singer Pamela Rose got her start in the late '70s, releasing big-band-oriented discs in the early '90s and hasn't looked back. Her seven previous discs have featured many of her own compositions, but the main focus of "Wild Women of Song," her latest, is to present a batch of songs from the jazz era written by female songwriters.
While three of the 14 tracks are originals from Rose, the others are both instantly familiar standards or obscure (but worthy) selections. The treatment wisely goes for an intimate, small combo sound on most tracks. Rose is a good singer, especially in front of a combo-sized band. Her influences may be Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson, but her voice isn't in their powerhouse league and at times rings a Dionne Warwick bell. She gets the job done on those songs, though.
"That Ole Devil Called Love" clicks as a keyboard/vibes/guitar arrangement gives Rose a swift vehicle on which to bounce her blues chops. Especially tasty piano (by Tammy Hall) elevates a cover of "What a Difference a Day Made." A stripped-down trio sound on the standout track "And Then Some" works as piano and Rose's voice combine perfectly keeping it simple sometimes is best.
Another familiar standard, "I'm in the Mood for Love," is well sung by Rose, but the Hammond B-3 organ and flashy jazz guitar backing music dress it up too much. The best original is the closer, "If You're So Special," the bluesiest tune here, which has a sassy lyric vibe and good sax work.
"Wild Women of Song" has some tunes that will not be familiar to some listeners, but all are interesting and well-performed. Rose has a voice made for the music here, which gives the songs an extra boost.
Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.