Canadian jazz singer and pianist Carol Welsman’s excellent reputation is no accident. Album after album, the lady delivers quality product, tastefully executed by seasoned musicians. Each time, though, the element that stands out the most is her vocal performance. Warm timbre, affecting interpretation, accuracy… Her work is impeccable!
It’s still the case on Dance with Me, Welsman’s thirteenth album to date. This time, she opted for a resolutely Latin flavour and surrounded herself with a team of professionals in the field: director and arranger Oscar Hernández, saxophonist and flutist Justo Almario, bassist René Camacho, drummer Jimmy Branly, and percussionist Joey de Leon. Each of them performs with infectious enthusiasm. The program includes a few new pieces, including an unexpected composition by Canadian rocker Randy Bachman (of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive), but the majority of the program is made up of rereadings of songs from the Great American Songbook, and classics from the Cuban repertoire translated into English by Welsman and lyricist Jo Perry.
It’s from this goldmine, which the singer discovered through Jimmy Branly, himself of Cuban origin, that the most beautiful moments of the record come from. “Yesterday” (originally “Como Fue”) and “I Think of You” (“Y Hoy Como Ayer”) are splendid ballads which, thanks to Ms. Welsman’s touching interpretations, go straight to the heart. The album isn’t stingy for spicier moments, but it’s these lulls that dazzle the most.