Personnel: Marlena Shaw (vocals); Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone); Dave Hazeltine (piano); Barnaby Finch (keyboards); Earl May (acoustic bass); Terry Miller (electric bass); Jerry Jones (drums); Michael Spiro (percussion).
Recorded at Sound On Sound, New York, New York from January 20 to 21, 1997; Music Annex, Menlo Park, California from March 10 to 11, 1997. Includes liner notes by Andrew Rowan.
Few jazz singers today are able to communicate across a broad stylistic range with the ease and authenticity of the dazzling Marlena Shaw. Featuring a rock-solid band--with help from tenor sax master Stanley Turrentine on three tracks--ELEMENTAL SOUL moves seamlessly through sultry ballads, blues-drenched numbers, and R&B grooves which break unexpectedly into buoyant swing. Shaw's voice is in top form throughout, as she handles the straight-ahead numbers with technical proficiency and the ballads with sensitivity and feeling. All the while she injects her characteristic bluesiness into everything she sings.
Of particular interest are her renditions of venerated jazz standards like "How Deep Is The Ocean?," "Round Midnight," and "My Old Flame." These songs are usually treated with more reverence but considerably less energy and verve. Here they demonstrate--as does the album as a whole--how Shaw's diverse musical sensibilities meld to create a sound unmistakably her own.