CMJ - 2/26/01, p.23
"...An album for those looking for a jazz singer who knows how to take a tune somewhere..."
Personnel: Carla Cook (vocals); Fred Wesley, Craig Harris, Tyrone Jefferson (trombone); Cyrus Chestnut (acoustic & Fender Rhodes pianos, organ); James Genus (bass); Billy Kilson (drums); Jeffrey Haynes (percussion).
Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, New York on August 16 & 17, 2000. Includes liner notes by Mary Ellen Sullivan.
Personnel: Carla Cook (vocals); Katsuhiko Naito (recorder); Craig Harris, Fred Wesley, Tyrone Jefferson (trombone); Cyrus Chestnut (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ); James Genus (acoustic bass, electric bass); Billy Kilson (drums); Jeff Haynes (percussion).
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (08/16/2000/08/17/2000).
Photographer: Jimmy Katz.
Arrangers: Cyrus Chestnut; Tyrone Jefferson; Lance Bryant; Lonnie Plaxico; Bruce Barth; Carla Cook.
Carla Cook's Dem Bones follows her critically acclaimed and commercially successful Maxjazz debut, It's All About Love. The Grammy-nominated artist taps into her diverse musical influences and presents a musical autobiography reflected in 11 songs. The precision of her multi-hued voice is accompanied by such great musicians as Cyrus Chestnut on piano; Fred Wesley, Craig Harris, and Tyrone Jefferson on trombones; James Genus on bass; and Billy Kilson on drums. Packed with straight-ahead jazz, the crowning glory on this CD is the approach she uses on the title cut, "Dem Bones." Tastefully arranged for three trombones (her voice being the fourth "bone") Cook's presentation adds a modern dimension to the use of the trombone -- both muted and open -- as an expressive "voice" in a jazz composition. Wesley, Craig, and Jefferson show just how expressive in a wonderfully improvised section that features them slurring and sliding on their "bones." Another great song is "For the Elders," a bebop piece that shines with Cyrus Chestnut's light piano stylings set against Cook's voice in tandem with the trombone. Craig Harris' solo is once again stellar and indicative of the remarkable versatility of this instrument in capable hands. Since Carla Cook has such a great voice (not only for jazz, but for R&B and gospel as well), along with excellent taste in song selection, Dem Bones should maintain her loyal following. With something for everyone, it represents her excellent jazz vocal techniques very well and rises to the occasion -- one that can be defined as a great hour of jazz. ~ Paula Edelstein