April Hall | Room for Two

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Cool Jazz Moods: Type: Vocal
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Room for Two

by April Hall

Stunning vocals and masterful interpretation, in an exploration of the jazz duet. These unique pairings of one voice and one instrument boldly expose every detail of the performance, revealing a rich landscape of normally hidden musical subtlety.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
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1. Amazing Love
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3:41 $0.99
2. Honeysuckle Rose
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2:58 $0.99
3. To Whom It May Concern
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6:15 $0.99
4. I Want to Be Happy
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2:39 $0.99
5. Black Coffee
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4:59 $0.99
6. You've Changed
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5:11 $0.99
7. The Best Thing for You
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2:42 $0.99
8. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
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7:33 $0.99
9. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You
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3:37 $0.99
10. I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
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5:26 $0.99
11. My Baby Just Cares for Me
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3:39 $0.99
12. That's All
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6:12 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
April Hall’s new jazz album, Room for Two, is a bold and intimate exploration of the art of the duo. Every aspect of it is a duet; the way it was recorded, the improvised album art, the poetry written for each track, and the songs themselves. Room for Two is a homage to the days of vinyl, when albums themselves were works of art. The unique pairings of one voice with one instrument exposes a rich landscape of normally hidden musical subtlety, revealing every detail of the actual performance.

Every duo is different, from the playful call and response on “Honeysuckle Rose” to the deeply honest conversation of “To Whom It May Concern”; from the swinging rhythms of “Amazing Love” to the soulful mingling of melodies on “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You”; but what always stays the same is Hall’s masterful interpretation and stunning vocal performance.

April Hall combines her deep roots in southern gospel and blues with an urban soulfulness and sophistication. Her voice, described as “Glorious” by the Boston Globe, is an instrument of astonishing beauty and versatility, capable of ranging from the purest whisper to the most powerful soul-drenched delivery. But her masterful performances are always centered on bringing every song to life through emotional interpretation, playful phrasing, and rock solid rhythm. “The exquisite, soulful vocals of April Hall deliver every lyric with emotion and conviction.” - Jazz Times Magazine

On this recording she is featured in duets with Gray Sargent on guitar (Tony Bennett), Tim Ray on piano (Lyle Lovett, Jane Siberry), Marty Ballou on bass (Jay McShann, Jimmy Witherspoon), Tom Hall on saxophone (Club d'Elf, Bruce Katz), Les Harris, Jr. on drums (Diana Krall, Paul Broadnax), Mark Poniatowski on bass (Junior Watson, Janiva Magness), Joe Barbato on accordion (Luciana Souza, Kenny Barron), and Marshall Wood on bass (Tony Bennett, Anita O'Day). With original cover illustrations by Lennie Peterson and original poetry selections by James Cudworth.

Room for Two Personnel:
1. Amazing Love (Hall., Sargent)
2. Honeysuckle Rose (Hall, Ballou)
3. To Whom it May Concern (Hall, Ray)
4. I Want to Be Happy (Hall, Harris)
5. Black Coffee (Hall, Poniatowski)
6. You've Changed (Hall, Ray)
7. The Best for You ( Hall, Wood)
8. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (Hall, Harris)
9. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You (Hall, Hall)
10. I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry (Hall, Sargent)
11. My Baby Just Cared for Me (Hall, Ray)
12. That's All (Hall, Barbato)


Reviews


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Walker Productions

Jazz Times Review-Room For Two
Those who heard April Hall's impressive 2008 Fun Out of Life CD may have wondered why such a fine singer was not better known outside of her Boston-area base. With the release of her new Room for Two CD, it's time to wonder once again. The Berklee College of Music graduate is presented this time in a duet format, a stark and challenging setting for any vocalist, and her signature versatility and genuine expressiveness are clearly evident. Hall's duet partners include pianist Tim Ray on three tracks, guitarist Gray Sargent on two, drummer Les Harris, Jr. on two, and tenor saxophonist Tom Hall, accordionist Joe Barbato, and bassists Marty Ballou, Mark Poniatowski, and Marshall Wood on one each.
"Amazing Love" finds Hall's soulful, rich voice and relaxed but sure phrasing combining to great effect with Sargent's sympathetic accompaniment and blues-inflected solo. Ballou's responsive, resonant bass meshes perfectly with Hall's enjoyable Fats Waller influenced vocalizing on "Honeysuckle Rose." "To Whom It May Concern" is given a properly reflective treatment by Hall that further confirms her great ability to sing ballads in both moving and memorable fashion. Ray's floating, understated piano is an added plus. For "I Want to Be Happy," Harris, Jr. gives Hall an inventive soundscape using just mallets at first, but the tempo accelerates when the drummer switches to brushes. He delivers a riveting solo and pushes Hall relentlessly until she bursts into helpless laughter at the end of this delightful exercise in rhythmic flexibility between drums and the human voice.
Poniatowski's booming, elastic bass is yet another perfect match for Hall's generally legato, sensual phrasing during "Black Coffee." Hall simply devours material of this nature, alternately breathy or declarative, but always eloquent. It's a pleasure to hear Hall sing the seldom included verse of "You've Changed," as well as to experience such an absorbing, nuanced, above-the-norm interpretation overall. Ray again proves his skills in
both comping and soloing. Hall successfully utilizes a huskier intonation for Irving Berlin's "The Best Thing for You." Wood here proves to be one of the three simpatico, stalwart bassists who elevate Hall's performances on this session. Hall seems to have an affinity for songs dealing with the season of Spring. After her magnificent reading of "You Must Believe In Spring" on her previous CD, she now aces "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," and thankfully again includes the verse. Harris, Jr. shows once more his command of drum sonorities, especially with mallets, which brings to mind Chico Hamilton. If anything, Hall's pacing of this tune is even more deliberate than usual, but the result is entrancing, especially so with Harris, Jr.'s resourceful input.
Tom Hall begins "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" with an undulating, bluesy, post bop intro on tenor, prior to the singer's insinuating exposition. The saxophonist's complementary obbligatos and melodic solo lead on to a rousing duo reprise. The importance of singing the verse is again illustrated with "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry." Hall sings the tune with heartfelt emotion and pinpoint control. Sargent's pliant low-key guitar accentuates her voice on what is one of the recording's strongest tracks. Hall intones "My Baby Just Cares For Me" appealingly in a sexy saloon style, slightly old-fashioned, and Ray's playing resembles a sort of refined Earl Hines, minus Fatha's trademark embellishments. Barbato's accordion intro to "That's All" is graceful and ingratiating, and Hall's trip through the lyrics is buoyant and full-bodied. Barbato's nimble, thematic improv brings still more luster to this beguiling closing selection.

Jazz Times Magazine, By Scott Albin July 2012