|The Sky Could Send You|
By Willard Manus
It's such a pleasure to discover a new jazz vocalist, particularly one with a sweet, pure, distinctive sound. Sherri Roberts is her name and even though she's released two previous CDs, I didn't catch up with her until THE SKY COULD SEND YOU (Blue House Recordings, an associate label of Pacific Coast Jazz) came my way.
The SF-based Roberts works closely with bassist Harvie S, pianist David Udolf and guitarist (and musical director) John Hart. They interpret ballads deftly, the lyrics of which Roberts delivers with intensity and focus, making sure to allow the music and beauty to shine through. She's got a lilting, teasing side as well, especially on a number like Jamaica Farewell. Long associated with Harry Belafonte, Roberts makes the Irving Burgie song completely hers.
There are other Caribbean and/or Latin tinged songs on the 12-track CD: You're Looking at Me (which she converts from a ballad into a bossa nova) and Let Me. Roberts shows her range on these numbers, but mostly she concentrates on pop or jazz standards such as Rodgers & Hart's You're Nearer and Do It the Hard Way.
Helping out are Phil Woods on alto; Vince Cherico on drums, Lew Soloff, trumpet; Tim Collins, vibes. These masters make Roberts sound great--and vice versa. (pacificcoastjazz.com)