Jazz vocalist Sherri Roberts celebrates springtime on her latest offering, Anybody’s Spring, from Pacific Coast Jazz. Traces of cabaret and swing music can be found in the smooth texture of her register and the enchanting way she sings a lyric, emphasizing the underlying emotions and creating an intimate atmosphere. Specks of bop jazz are also present, as she is joined by pianist David Udolf, bassist Harvie S, drummer Akira Tana, and guitarist Sheryl Bailey. Continuously sensitive to the sentiment being channeled through the lyrics, Roberts makes a striking conduit, affecting audiences with an indelible delivery.
Roberts explores the many moods which springtime elicits, from experiencing joy and exuberance, to feelings of regret and pining over a lost love. Tracks like “It’s Anybody’s Spring” and “They Say It’s Spring” are entrenched in the percolating rhythms of swinging blues with a touch of Broadway burlesque in the sensual stroll of her vocals. The lyrics in the latter tune propound a starry-eyed vision about love: “They say it’s spring / This feeling light as a feather / They say this thing / This magic we share together came with the weather … though they say it’s spring / It’s you.”
When she isn’t being sensual in her delivery of the verses, Roberts shows another side of her femininity, that of a woman who reflects peacefully about her surroundings, like in “Spring Sprang Sprung.” The glistening keys cushion the soothing texture of her vocals, resonating a Judy Collins-style in her languid-like phrasing. The arrangements are sparsely layered, which draws a bulk of the listener’s attention to the lyrics. The liquid embers of her vocals coast blissfully along “It Might as Well Be Spring” and produce a lullaby mist across “After All, It’s Spring.”
The bopping bass notes driving “Joy Spring” and “Lady Bird” support her buoyant vocals and turn to a smooth balm along “Double Rainbow” and “Now at Last.” The relaxed pose of her vocals along “Now at Last” set the somber mood as the lyrics lament: “Now at last I know what a fool I’ve been … at last I see how my heart was blind to the joys before me that I left behind.”
The soft and mellow atmospherics of “While We’re Young” and “Spring Isn’t Everything” close the recording with impressions of spring as being full of life. She imparts that life does not die when spring passes. The season is a period of awakening, and while life continues, so too will all the feelings and moods that spring brings out in audiences.
Sherri Roberts melds the genres of theatrical cabaret and intimate swing jazz. Prolific at externalizing emotions, Roberts turns the human soul inside out, giving a voice to feelings of joy and sorrow. Her languid phrasing has shades of burlesque and torchlight blues, achieving a balance that makes the verses purr in the listener’s ears.
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