One reviewer has compared San Francisco singer Roberts to Chet Baker and, strange as it might seem, there is indeed a pronounced similarity. While her singing is more assertive and elastic than the muted hurt-tenor of Baker, there is a kind of foggy quality in the voice that resembles his. Her style also owes something to the sombre vocalizing of Billie Holiday.
"Dreamsville," as well as being the name of the Henry Mancini-penned song that gives the CD its title, is actually a very apt word for the Roberts vocal style. This is singing that reaches from the pillow to the stars, and seductively draws listeners into the nocturnal reverie.
The dreamy material ranges from bebop ("Zoot Walks In") to bossa nova ("Two Kites") to standards ("With a Song In My Heart," "People Will Say We're In Love").The arrangements are by either bassist Harvie Swartz or pianist Mark Soskin, who both play in Roberts' backing unit on this recording.
Swartz has a particular affinity for this type of performance because he spent 16 years working with influential vocal stylist Sheila Jordan. Also featured here are the hot young saxman Christ Potter and former Pat Metheny drummer Danny Gottlieb. The violin of Gregor Huebner and the cello of Erik Friedlander add contrasting colours to the palette.
Rating: three 1/2 out of five
Brian Brennan, Calgary Herald
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