This album has been a labor of love for I've always loved soulful music. One of the things I love the most about the Blues and Soul music is that they can be very high spirited and happy and then turn around and touch that soft place in your heart as it tells you a story. It's wonderful music and the backbone of all American music.
Review from "All About Jazz" by C. Michael Bailey http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=37207
Vocalist Beverly Lewis does not worry about the particulars of proper jazz vocals on All Shades of Blues, because she is also a blues singer, and the two vocal styles often have different agendas. Lewis, however, has but one agenda: stepping up to the microphone and belting out whatever song she is singing con brio and in full command. Couple this inhibition with a very fine band led by guitarist/husband John Fifield, and a brush fire is sure to start and spread.
Right out of the chute, Lewis goes on the prowl with Denise LaSalle's warning shot, "Someone Else is Steppin' In," fueled by Fifield's slinky, full-throated slide guitar. Having established her blues bona fides, Lewis moves on to Joe Zawinul's soul-jazz standard "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," singing at full throttle. Bobby Charles' "The Jealous Kind" is played with a slight country tinge, Fifield's solid slide guitar tempering the piece as a country-blues hybrid.
The pairing of "Every Day I have The Blues" and "Fine and Mellow" is as inspired as its slick arrangement, burning intensely and scorching all behind it, making it a great set closer. The Miles Davis/Oscar Brown, Jr. "All Blues" provides Lewis an excellent jazz vehicle with a blues subtext, as the singer negotiates the piece with precision and class, never overdoing it in the technical department. Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You," provides an Etta James vibe, taking the edge off the disc's hard blues.
But that is only for a second, because "It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)" follows, and is a barnburner that takes full example of Randy Singer's Little Walter Jacobs-informed harmonica playing. All Shades of Blues should bring Lewis some much deserved attention: her forceful singing and robust delivery have genuine soul; her band is tight; and her repertoire solid.
Review By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, © January 2011
Have you ever taken a look at the list of the "50 Greatest Female Jazz Vocalists"? I have, and it's quite a revered list of ladies. However, with Ella, Billie, Sarah and Dinah being 1, 2, 3, & 4 and Diane Schuur, Etta James, Irene Reid, Ruth Brown and other names familiar to us blues lovers filling out the list, I think the list should be re-named the 50 Greatest Female Jazz And Blues Singers. Amen to that!
Now I'm not saying that Beverly Lewis is ready for the top 50 list just yet, but she's surely an excellent female jazz singer who can belt out the blues. That's exactly what you'll hear her doing on her latest CD titled "All Shades Of Blues". Backing her up musically are John Fifield on guitars, Gabriel Vivas on electric & acoustic bass, Goran Rista and Lee Levin on drums, Paul Banman and Doug Emery on keyboards, Sammy Figueroa on percussion, Randy Singer on harmonica, Teddy Mulet on brass, David Fernandez on reeds, and Gabe Vales on electric bass. BTW, should you be wondering where you heard some of those names before, think Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Miami Sound Machine and Yanni.
From a strictly musical viewpoint, the "Every Day I Have The Blues" / "Fine And Mellow" medley was most enjoyable listening. On this particular track the band is in such a smooth, jazzy groove with each instrument involved sounding so wonderfully sharp. Now, throw Beverly into the mix and WOW!
Being one of the more popular standards, there probably aren't many ladies of song that don't have "Since I Fell For You" in their repertoire. But it's not how many who sing it, it's how many who sing it this beautifully that matters. Equally as beautiful is Randy's harmonica playing.
More often than not, jazz singers tend to stick to the standards...particularly ballads. Yet, every once in a while you'll hear them belt out a smoker - "It's Love Baby" (24 Hours A Day) that's Beverly's smoker and man is she belting it out. That, along with fiery hot rhythm, scorching guitar and wicked harp, by far make this the deepest shade of all the shades of blues
Just as I was thinking that "Mad About Him, Sad Without Him Blues", was about to end, the song - much like the title - makes a radical change in attitude. This one starts out as a mellow, low-toned, sultry sounding ballad, then BAM! out of nowhere it all gets louder, faster and furious. Imagine the look on the slow dancers faces. Musically this one's highlighted by Bev's vocals and Ted's trumpet.
The best track on the CD could very well be "Love Me Like A Man". The opening forty five seconds features such a deep, heavy rhythm and scorching guitar riffs that Gabriel, Goran and John - on bass, drums and guitar - had me wishing this was an instrumental...until Beverly started singing. The strength of her voice, the way she holds her notes and her wide vocal range all blew me away on this one.
The disc closes with one of the shortest, and one of the most unique tracks these ears have ever heard. It's also the only time I ever recall seeing a dog being given composer credits. Being the only original, it was written by Beverly, her husband John Fifield and their dog Scarlet - who sings on the track as well. As John picks a few short chords on an acoustic guitar, Beverly instructs Scarlet to "sing the blues baby" and the dog, right on time and right on key as well, starts "Howlin' The Blues". Very cute.
Other tracks on "All Shades Of Blues" include: "Someone Else Is Steppin' In", "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy", "The Jealous Kind" and "All Blues".
Beverly Lewis can be reached at - you guessed it - www.beverlylewis.net. Stop by, grab a disc, read her storied bio and of course, tell her the Blewzzman sent ya.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient