Adriana Evans - Walking With the Night

Adriana Evans
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I'm a jazz fan, so I noted with interest that Adriana Evans' mother, Mary Stallings, is a jazz singer who performed with some of the all time greats. Stallings' name doesn't come up in the conversation of female vocalists in part because she took a hiatus so she could raise her family. She's been back singing for a little more than a decade - sounding good and looking resplendent.

All of that is good for me because I can go online to see and hear video and audio clips. That's what I did after getting assigned the review of Walking With The Night, Evans' latest CD. There are differences in the voices of mother and daughter. Stallings sings in a lower register than her daughter, for example. However, the influence that jazz and Mary Stallings had and continue to have on Adriana Evans can be heard throughout Walking With The Night in Evans' vocal phrasing, diction and in the way she extends and bends notes.

I'm a jazz fan, so I noted with interest that Adriana Evans' mother, Mary Stallings, is a jazz singer who performed with some of the all time greats. Stallings' name doesn't come up in the conversation of female vocalists in part because she took a hiatus so she could raise her family. She's been back singing for a little more than a decade - sounding good and looking resplendent.

All of that is good for me because I can go online to see and hear video and audio clips. That's what I did after getting assigned the review of Walking With The Night, Evans' latest CD. There are differences in the voices of mother and daughter. Stallings sings in a lower register than her daughter, for example. However, the influence that jazz and Mary Stallings had and continue to have on Adriana Evans can be heard throughout Walking With The Night in Evans' vocal phrasing, diction and in the way she extends and bends notes.

Walking With The Night also serves as a showcase for Evans' ability to flip the script stylistically. Her last record Nomadic, which was originally released in 2004 and reissued last year, was more of a gumbo featuring soul spiced with a little Brazilian samba, funk influenced rock, southern soul, neo-soul, and of course, jazz. Walking With The Night is more of a traditional R&B record in Motown mode. The record is a solid combination of conversational lyrics, catchy hooks delivered with sultry and seductive vocals and musicians who infuse each track with a jazz sensibility.

Both the musical arrangements and the backing vocals are lush, and the jazz simmers just under the surface. Listeners won't hear any wild forays of improvisation on Walking With The Night. What listeners get instrumentally are the jazz flourishes that took those Motown songs to the next level back in the day - a riff from a Harmon-muted trumpet on "Never Thought," or the conversation between the pianist and horns that underlines the lyrical theme on the "Waiting," the album's opening track.

Other notable tracks include the excellent "Suddenly" a song in which Evans packs a novel's worth of emotion into a few words, the dance track "Surrender," and the funky torch song "Let You Get Away." Berry Gordy made a mint doing this stuff in the 1960s and 70s, and the formula works like a charm for Evans on Walking With The Night. Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 

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