Attention is given, as radio host in Miami Florida, Ed Blanco of 88.9FM airs tracks and calls Sue Bell "Seattle's Songbird and a terrific jazz vocalist."
Michael Perry/ MusicianReviews, writes:
"The integrity of her talented vocals is sure, and the selections are flawlessly executed from flowing, emotion triggering songs to quick-pulsed, swinging tunes that make your feet move almost involuntarily."
Harvey Siders: Emmy Award-winning composer, and well known jazz critic for Down Beat Jazz Times and the
Tacoma Tribune, writes:
'Only Love' is one great achievement. I swear I've been wearing out my copy and in the process, falling in love with Sue's dulcet tones. The most versatile tool in her vocal arsenal is that voice. Sue Bell, is blessed with a wondrous, sensitive instrument that can transform ballads into tear-provoking poetry.
Her upper register can sound extremely plaintive and her low register is smoky, and very inviting. An interesting comparison of the lower and upper registers can be heard on 'Too Late Now', (the title says it all).
'It Never Entered My Mind' drives me up the nearest wall, it's so hauntingly beautiful. The combination of Sue's phrasing and Larry Hart's lyrics does it every time. When she reaches the climax at the end of the release (bridge) with the words 'scratch my back myself'...positively gut-wrenching. It was refreshing to hear the inclusion of alternative lyrics Hart, wrote for the 1940 production. No one, except for an occasional cabaret singer does them today.
Something very interesting on 'If It Wasn't For Your Love' that provides a needed contrast to 'Small Day Tomorrow'. After phrasing the melody on 'Small Day' very loosely, with a little touch of swagger, the notes were then hit right on the head with 'If It Wasn't For Your Love', I enjoyed the difference. The backing on "If It Wasn't" is very interesting, that unison bass/piano figure under the voice is quite lilting and Sue's wordless comment, when Alexey begins his solo, underscores the fact that her sound and his timbre are close to identical. Notice how the swinging Russian, copies some of her humming/doodling? On 'Small Day Tomorrow' the vocals go out on the ninth, not just a good note, but a good, strong sound. It begins as a raw tone and eventually Sue's, very pleasant vibrato emerges.
Talk about backing on #9, 'Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry'.'Patches', when he plays muted, is a perfect complement to Sue's voice. It's a gorgeous ballad with tricky intervals, the kind of drops that reveal her firm intonation particularly on the release, where Nick Moore changes keys. It just gets better on 'You Taught My Heart To Sing,' Nick, provides full, lush accompaniment, sounds like he inspires Sue, particularly when she soars at the end of the bridge. When he ventures out on his solo, it becomes nearly symphonic in scope. When a pianist with his imagination is allowed to roam free without rhythmic shackles, wonderful things happen. Delighted with the humming on the last note with him.
The medley at the end is so appropriate...good enough to be a single. Again, Alexey borrows one of Sue's ideas ("daddy's rich") and even bends his tone the same way she does.
So many little things that pleased me about this album, and I dig her voice, so much so, that I simply had to take advantage of the request and let you know what I thought of "Only Love".
Michael Perry, MusiciansReview:
Sue Bell is a jazz vocalist from Seattle, Washington. She is proof that the area produces some of the best musicians in the industry.
Her release, Only Love, is an exercise in smooth vocals, with a sound that is not equaled by many female vocalists of the last decade. Her soft, soothing voice comes across like an instrument, quiet tones, yet strong presence. The integrity of her talented vocals is sure, and the selections are flawlessly executed; from soft, flowing , emotion triggering songs to quick- pulsed, swinging tunes that make your feet move almost involuntarily
The musicians accompanying her on this project fit in such a way that it seems they are connected at the soul. None are overpowering, and they provide the perfect environment for her comforting, soulful voice to thrive. Subtle piano and sax, guitar that flows with a natural feel, bass that is unassuming yet strong, trumpet that complements Sue's vocal "instrument".
Getting down to it, Sue Bell is fresh and at the same time, familiar. Her versatility is apparent, and she has shown that in the different selections on the cd. A lovely collection of music by a lovely and talented vocalist this project gives the listener a reason to keep listening.
Ed Blanco-88.9 (Serious Jazz) Miami, Florida
Ejazznews-All about Jazz & Jazzreview writes:
Seattle songbird Sue Bell sculpts a new album of fourteen standard love songs. A fixture in the Seattle jazz scene, Bell has performed and recorded with some of the premier jazz musicians in the Pacific Northwest, many of whom appear on this disc. Bell, has a sultry voice well suited for voicing love ballads.
The love theme kicks off with the familiar "Let There Be Love," featuring Peterson's guitar and Thomas accompanying on trumpet.
Bell, delivers a sensuous performance on the romantic 'Too Late Now,' while Moore provides constant backup on the piano, Ivester weighs in on the brushes as Darren Motamedy peels off one beautiful solo on the sax. Then the lady picks up the pace on the short but, buoyant burner 'Exactly Like You,' supported by excellent instrumentals from the band. Other tunes containing a measure of swing here are 'Let's Get Away From It All,' and 'You Can't Loose A Broken Heart.'
Sue Bell's 'Only Love' provides heartfelt interpretations of beautiful love songs, delivered in a light jazzy fashion.
Her vocal style seems perfect for inspiring the romantic feelings you want to convey in voicing warm and gentle jazzy love songs, as she does here.
(ED BLANCO'S RADIO COMMENTARY AND FULL TRACK 'TOO LATE NOW'CAN BE HEARD BY VISTITING SUE BELL'S MYSPACE PAGE)
Arranged and Musically Directed by: Douglas Barnett
Recorded at Synergy Productions by Engineer: Jason Shavey
Mixed at Studiox by: Reed Ruddy
Mastered by: Ross Nyberg
Sue Bell vocals
Nick Moore piano
Mark Ivester drums
Doug Miller bass
Phil Sparks bass
Dave Peterson guitar
Jay Thomas trumpet
Patches Stewart trumpet
Darren Motamedy saxophone
Alexey Nikolaev saxophone
(TO FIND OUT MORE VISIT SUE BELL'S WEBSITE AND MYSPACE PAGE)