Featured Artist: Jon Burr Band
CD Title: Just Can’t Wait
Record Label: JBQ Media LLC
Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic
Musicians:Vocalists – Ty Stevens, Yaala Ballin, Hilary Kole, Tyler Burr; Tenor Saxophone – Houston Person, Joel Frahm; Piano – Jon Davis; Guitar – John Hart; Drums – Anthony Pinciotti; Bass – Jon Burr
Review:Classic jazz bassist-composer Jon Burr has a catalog of music that spans across the last three decades virtually non-stop. Whether he has fronted his own jazz quartet or performed with jazz music’s elite like Eartha Kitt, Tony Bennett, Rita Moreno, and Barbara Cook, the years have kept Burr hard at work honing his skills as a bass player and composer of classic jazz tunes. Making an ambitious leap forward, the Jon Burr Band has put forth their latest outing Just Can’t Wait. Produced by Burr and Suzi Reynolds, the recording has factions of smooth R&B, jive, café pop, and classic jazz which progress like a growing snowball as the pieces come together. Each track has a certain amount of autonomy as a handful of chosen vocalists sing them. Burr’s sensitivity is boundless as he shows that he is able to backup an array of vocalists each possessing their own individual style.
The profusion of jive-inspired sprints jetting across the title track complement Ty Stevens’ vocal glides nicely, and the island sway of “Please Tell Me” dulcetly swag Yaala Ballin’s vocal soars, Burr knows how to highlight his vocalists lyrical phrases with the right level of shading and light, similarly to a Johannes Vermeer painting. The glistening melodic reels of “Snowfall” powder Hilary Kole’s voice in lustrous tones, and the bop-ish grooves of “None Of Them Is You” will feel right at home for jazz enthusiasts. The track has a comfy wagging in its rhythmic patterns that audiences will respond to instantly. The intricate detailing and regalia of these numbers display an optimal level of sophistication and emotive attraction. The arrangements are welded so finely that every winding segment and every lift and descent moves with a natural fluidity as demonstrated in “Sea Breeze.” The soft trickling notes in the bass lines that come down on “Another Kind Of Love” are silhouette in country flavored acoustics while Hilary Kole’s vocals flat elegantly over the louning knolls with loving care. The CD is accompanied by a DVD which features live footage of the Jon Burr Band performing at the Birdland club in New York City. The live show features all four vocalists, Ty Stevens, Yaala Ballin, Hilary Kole, and Tyler Burr with Jon Burr providing a short introduction before each tune telling audiences who collaborated with him on the music and lyrics. It is like icing on the cake.
Born in Huntington, Long Island, Burr studied music at the Berklee College of Music and the University of Illinois. He has performed with a number of A-list artists in addition to headlining concerts at Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City. His credits include the bass chair in the revival of “Me And My Girl,” and playing the bass in Broadway shows like “Gypsy,” “Grand Hotel,” and “Blood Brothers.” The Jon Burr Band’s latest recording Just Can’t Wait is a synthesis of Jon Burr’s musical experiences over three decades, but there is still bound to be more coming from him. In some ways, this album puts another asset in Jon Burr Band‘s vault.
Tracks:Just Can’t Wait, Please Tell Me, Been Here All Along, Snowfall, None Of Them Is You, Eden By The Sea, Song Of A Broken Word, I Understand You’re Leaving Me, Rainbow Over Harlem, Sea Breeze, Nobody Said It Was Easy, Another Kind Of Love, Dancing With A Stranger, It’s Only Love
Artist’s Website: http://www.jonburrband.com
Listen or Buy: Just Can’t Wait CD/Live at Birdland DVD (Amazon)
Reviewed by: Susan Frances