Antoinette Montague – Behind The Smile (2010)

Antoinette Montague - Behind The Smile (2010)
Artist: Antoinette Montague
Album: Behind The Smile
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Origin: USA
Released: 2010
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

Tracklist:
Behind The Smile
I Hadn’t Anyone Till You
Give Your Mama One Smile
Ever Since the One I Love’s Been Gone
What’s Going On
The Song Is You
I’d Rather Have a Memory Than a Dream
Lost in Meditation
Get Ready
Summer Song
Somewhere in the Night
Meet Me at No Special Place
23rd Psalm

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Antoinette Montague shows what is Behind the Smile—eclectic taste and strong delivery. She is joined by choice company on this outing: Mulgrew Miller (piano), Bill Easley (saxophone, clarinet and flute), Peter Washington (bass) and drummer Kenny Washington – Vocals, who doubles as producer.

Montague’s programmatic choices are a varied mix, including blues, soul, the Great American Songbook, two Motown numbers and the original title track. She travels through these different genres without being tied down to any of them, but does show a strong affinity for singing the blues. Her work on Big Bill Broonzy’s “Give Your Mama One Smile” and Buddy Johnson’s “Ever Since The One I Love’s Been Gone” displays her prowess and connection to genre. She has an edge to her voice (sometimes with a hint of that other Washington—Dinah) that allows her to belt the blues with the best of them, but there is also a softness that she can use when the song calls for it.

Montague includes a tune by jazz historian/critic Leonard Feather and lyricist Bob Russell (“I’d Rather Have A Memory”), recorded by Sarah Vaughan in the ’40s, and the “23rd Psalm” by Duke Ellington, originally written for Mahalia Jackson. The Motown selections are Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” (featuring some nice interplay between voice and Easley’s sax) and a funky rendition of “Get Ready” (full of Easley’s wailing tones). There are some notable moments by Miller as he demonstrates his stride piano ability on Dave Brubeck’s quiet “Summer Song,” and tastefulness on the Kerr-Jennings ballad “Somewhere in the Night,” originally sung by Kim Carnes.

Montague is a pop singer per se, with a good sense of tune selection. Surrounding herself with this group of fine jazz musicians as companions is another good reason she’s smiling.
By MARCIA HILLMAN

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