"Entirely fresh and original" BOSSA Magazine [See review excerpts below]
Judith Kay - vocal, guitar
George Rabbai - flugelhorn
Ron Kerber - sax, flute, alto flute
Chuck Holdeman - French bassoon
Francis Orval - horn
Ron Thomas - piano
Domenick Fiore - acoustic bass
Vanderlei Pereira - drums, percussion
All music, lyrics, and arrangements by Judith Kay
All music & lyrics Copyright I Dig Music/BMI
Excerpts from CD Review - Bossa Magazine, September 1997
by Howard Jay Rosenthal
Sounds like Brazil is both the title of the album and its first musical selection. The composer, arranger, guitarist and vocalist of this and the other half dozen selections featured on the CD are the singular Ms. Kay. For the first thirty seconds or so the sounds... are... like... those of... Brazil. The percussion, whistles, and guitar conjure up the image of Carnival. But when Ms. Kay begins her vocal, doubled on horn by George Rabbai, I am instantly transported somewhere north of the equator.
Before you conclude that the previous paragraph is a preamble to an unfavorable review, let me assure you: it is not. I simply want to clarify, right from the beginning (of the first selection, as it were), that the arrangements of nearly all the selections - "Preciso de Você na Minha Vida [I Need You In My Life]" may be the one exception - have the unmistakable stamp of North American jazz instruments wedded to Brazilian percussion and rhythms. And, it's a careful and deliberate meld. But, for the purists among us who find that combining different instruments in nearly every measure somehow defiles the music, you have been forewarned. To this gringo's musical taste, the combination of Gilberto and Getz, so to speak, poses no problem.
The title cut is one of three "instrumental " pieces featuring Judith Kay's voice - as - instrument without the use of words. The melody is introduced by voice mirrored by horn which, in typical jazz tradition, is given a chance to improvise following completion of the main theme. George Rabbai's horn work and Ron Thomas' piano playing are excellent: both in their individual, improvisational roles and as backup. Between horn and piano, Kay's guitar riff is crisp and interesting.... The horn fills replace rests of the entire ensemble and give the piece a fullness of the North American school of arranging a la Marty Paich... It's the antithesis of South American sparseness...
A second "vocal - instrumental " piece reprises the Kay-Rabbai voice - horn combination, with interesting flute work by Ron Kerber. In addition, "Um Abraço no Brasil [A Big Hug for Brazil] " contains some interesting vocal-horn harmonies, which transition from unisons through seconds harmonies (a rather exotic and jarring harmony used in the 50s by the vocal group The Hi Lo's), to more conventional thirds harmony.
But, the third such composition, called "Ba" (on behalf of the most common scat syllable vocalized by Ms. Kay), brought to fruition the possibilities of harmony alluded to in the two previously - mentioned "instrumentals ".... the voices weaving around one another, in ways reminiscent of the overdubbing techniques used by Les Paul in his recordings with singer Mary Ford.
The ballad "Preciso de Você na Minha Vida" provides a pleasant change of pace to the otherwise upbeat selections and ample proof that Ms. Kay is quite capable of producing compositions of less musical complexity, consistent with a simple, direct lyric.
The three remaining pieces, all vocals with lyrics, all have a somewhat retro feeling to me; both lyrically and instrumentally, and they remind me of some of the "hip "material turned out by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, a jazz trio popular in the 50s: American jazz with Brazilian rhythms.
While I sense that there is much in ChamberJazz™ that shows the influence of musical genres of decades past, the resultant work is entirely fresh and original .... I look forward to future works from this multi - talented artist.