Valarie King – Only Time Will Tell

Valarie King
Only Time Will Tell
(Kangu – 2006)
by Paula Edelstein

The jazz flute has made a roaring comeback in many ways since it came into its own in the 1950s, and was much used after the 1960s in jazz-rock and folk influenced jazz. Artists such as Hubert Laws, Herbie Mann, Frank Wess, James Moody, Yusef Lateef, Nestor Torres, Dave Valentin, Bobby Humphrey, among others, have cast it as the star or co-star of their innovative ensembles. Throughout its history, the flute has entranced (remember the Pied Piper of Hamlin?), romanced, and caused us to dance to its lively tones and sensuous resonance. Now Valarie King’s amazing mastery of the flute shines brilliantly and rings clearly to those who enjoy her music.

She also sings and does it beautifully over Hubert Laws’ sensitive improvisations on the existing melody to Natalie Cole’s mega hit “La Costa.” King’s flute solo on “Part II – La Costa Salsa” changes the melody, harmony and rhythms into a Latin descarga which shows just how unique improvisation is to a performance. “Only Time Will Tell,” written by Greg Porée and Ryan Cross, features King on three different flutes, in a septet backed by the strings of Mark Cargill & the Tri-Ambient Orchestra. This is a beautiful song that is destined to become a standard in both pop and jazz circles. Valarie King performs with a different sextet on “Burning Spear,” which features her on flute, piccolo, and alto flute. Again, Cargill and the Tri-Ambient Orchestra add more colors and textures to her playing with excellent string accompaniment and an awesome violin solo by Mark Cargill.

As exciting as all the different textures, colors and styles are on the CD, there is nothing more exciting than the sounds of well-played instruments in the hands of master musicians. Valarie King has grown impressively since her debut release “Today, Tomorrow and Forever”. Here she is accompanied by some of your favorite musicians including Patrice Rushen on keyboards, Jeff Clayton on alto sax, Gregg Porée on guitar, Landers Pierce and Munyungo Jackson on percussion, and others, playing a set of 13 great songs by both established and up-and-coming songwriters. Check her out….

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