Jazz Vocal CD
For Eula Lawrence one of Boston's finest vocalists, this release is long overdue. Backing her up on this CD is a trio of Berklee College of Music faculty members led by bassist John Pierce, with Tim Ray on piano and Jon Hazilla on drums. John and Eula met working with Craig Ball's White Heat Swing Orchestra, with Eula on vocals and John playing trombone. Pierce has performed or recorded with artists including Lou Rawls, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, Joe Beck, Patti Austin and Jay Geils. He is the producer and engineer for this recording.
Tim Ray is a much-in-demand pianist both in the Boston area and internationally. He has worked with pop icons including Lyle Lovett, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt and Wilie Nelson as well as jazz artists Esperanza Spalding, Louis Nash, Scott Hamilton and many others.
Jon Hazilla is one of the busiest drummers in Boston. An expert at playing with brushes, Hazilla published the instructional book/CD, Mastering the Art of Brushes and seven jazz CDs under his own name.
What a Difference a Day Makes is a long-time favorite of Eula's. It's done at a medium tempo, with solos by Tim on piano and John on bass. All My Tomorrows is a wonderful song about the promise of a bright tomorrow. Tim's solo is a gem that sustains the magical mood Eula brings to the song. "Sassy" best describes the feeling of The Boy From Ipanema. This swinging tune is about a woman doing some "watching" down at the beach. Eula tells us all about it with her vocal ad lib ending. As she says, "It's a good day at the beach!". The timeless favorite Blue Moon is done as a bossa nova. Jon Hazilla uses his hands to play the snare, simulating a conga drum. Crazy He Calls Me evokes the power of love. I'm Old Fashioned opens with just bass and voice, a sparse approach that sets up the spirit of the lyric. Lover Man is done with a funky Latin groove. Eula is from Philadelphia and I grew up in near-by Camden, New Jersey. We have talked about listening to Joel Dorn, Philly and New Jersey's premier jazz DJ. Dorn played Gloria Lynne's hit recording of I'm Glad There is You. I think of Gloria when I hear Eula's version.
On the Street Where You Live is another up-tempo tune. Jon Hazilla solos on this one. Eula likes the lyrics to I Wish You Love. "Things didn't work out for the couple, but the wish is for only good things for the other." John Pierce described I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water as a "blues with attitude!". Eula called in "raucous!" Yeah! Listen to John Pierce's solo. Ruby and the Romantics recorded a memorable version of Our Day Will Come. Here, Eula does it as a samba. Excellent drum work from Hazilla! Just gorgeous! That's the way I'd describe Eula's treatment of It Never Entered My Mind. She spoke of the human drama in the lyrics, getting hit with unexpected bad news. Eula closes the CD out with a song she frequently sings live, Secret Love. The trio and Eula really swing the album out with this bright, up-tempo tune.
Eula! with The John Pierce Trio
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John Pierce 2013