Jeri Brown – Firm Roots
(Justin Time – 2003)
by John Thompson
What have we here? Some of this and some of that. We have a talented vocalist in Jeri Brown, whose style is along the lines of Dianne Reeves and Neena Freelon. We also have six instrumentalists, among them Erich Kory (cello) and Avery Sharpe (b). Among the tracks, we have Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles,” Bacharach’s “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” and Abby Lincoln-Mal Waldron’s “Straight Ahead.” “Love’s Free is the mellow groove that could make a smooth jazz play list. “Calls From The Other Side Of A Dream” is an adventure away from the norm, and my favorite, “Feeling Good,” is the most musically moving track on the cd. Only three tracks are up-tempo, while the rest are mostly sedating.
What Jeri Brown does exhibit is very good voice control. She reminds me of a nightclub singer who has paid her dues and is in the right place. I don’t know who the male vocalist is, but I don’t think he was a necessity. Decent musicianship, but nothing to write home about.