The finest jazz vocalists are never one-dimensional; they are able to bend their style, convey a number of different emotions, and roll with the shifting grooves of their band. Vancouver, B.C.-based singer Colleen Savage strikes all of those notes with knife-sharp precision, making her latest album Algiers
not only a keeper but a serious candidate for the annual Top-10 lists.
The year is nearly over, and surely Algiers would have placed on a handful of yearly critical polls if Savage was more well known. For those seeking buried treasure, there is wealth of talent waiting to be unearthed here. Recorded in New Orleans, Savage surrounds herself with a plethora of top-drawer regional session musicians: guitarist John Dobry; bassist Jim Markway; pianist Jesse McBride; tenor saxophonist John Doheny; and drummer Geoff Clapp. If their names aren't familiar, their stellar contributions here will make them register in people's memories. They provide classy and crystal clear backup to Savage's poignant, playful renditions of jazz standards.
The spunky personality of Savage's singing jams new color into Time After Time"; from just the opening of the record she is already wowing with her vocal calisthenics. Markway's throbbing bass reflects the breathless energy of Savage's performance. On Never Let Me Go," Clapp's robust drumming, McBride's lively piano, and Doheny's warm sax heighten the joyful bounce of Savage's voice. But Savage can play it sweet and seductive, too, as on Riverboat," as her sultry croon glides across the liquid flow of McBride's piano.
An entertainer for three decades now, Savage unveils everything that she's learned and mastered on Algiers; those learning the art of jazz can greatly benefit from the lessons taught here.