Saturday, November 19, 2011
CD Review: GAIL BLANCO "Sweet Love" - Sophisticated and outstanding!
For someone who collects easy listening, classical, jazz and opera, it's very rare that I come across an album where I don't find anything to complain about. Yeah, yeah... Purist as you might call me but I believe in remaining faithful to genres and music periods. That is why there are periods of music! Remaining faithful to the composer's intentions is very important and thus must be honored.
I remember when I interviewed Babyface during his press conference here in Manila. It was for his Playlist concert tour and my main question was about how he remained faithful to the original versions of songs like Wonderful Tonight and Longer. Quite simply he said "It's to pay tribute. And those songs are beautiful as they are."
And that day, I felt great. Because it validated my belief that a great musician does not just create music, but respects music just as much.
I've always believed in Gail Blanco even way before she released this album. A lady who sings with grace, elegance and taste. She possesses what I will call one of the most alluring voices. Sultry, sexy, smoky and unique.
And that is exactly what she does in this much awaited album Sweet Love "16 Easy-Listening Favorites." An amazing compilation of hits that places a performer's musicianship to the test.
The album opens with a classic hit Initial Thrill. A most interesting arrangement that introduces Gail's voice softly and allows it to be appreciated and get your attention. It is smartly followed by a Janet Jackson hit "Let's Wait A While" which automatically makes one stop in his tracks and wins one over to continue listening without pressing forward. Then comes the next track "It's You" which seals the initial impression that one is bound to enjoy not just a great playlist, but an amazing singer who will make you think if she is indeed Filipina. There is even a point in her duet with Jed Madela wherein she makes Jed sound so Pinoy. They sing together well, but somehow, she outshines her male partner and gives a more international flavor. Maybe a Chad Borja or Leo Valdez may have been better choices as partners.
Track after track it engages you. Pleasant, such ease, such beauty, and most of all... Such confidence! Never in any part of the album will you hear Gail sing out too much. Every treatment is just right but boasts of intelligent singing. Proving that Gail's artistry is indeed of another level. I feel strongly that this is album that should be marketed to audiophile groups. Followers of Astrud Gilberto, Sergio Mendes and Carol Kidd will surely be pleased. A recording that I can confidently place alongside my international jazz and easy-listening recordings.
So much money is wasted on acts like those wannabee acoustic starlets who can barely sing. Worst, they sing rinky-dink arrangements of songs obviously not well thought of. Huge hits that they bastardize and make careers out of. No, I am not going to compare Gail to any local singer, she is a class of her own. But if you must buy a CD, then this is the one.
There is so much to love in this album. From the raw and vulnerable versions of "In My Life" (Patti Austin) and "Hiding Inside Myself" (Kenny Rankin), to a small but commanding delivery of "Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye" (Sergio Mendes), a refreshing "Follow Your Road" (Pauline Wilson) and oh so sophisticated "Through The Fire" (Chaka Khan).
Gail Blanco deserves to be heard. I highly recommend this CD. Not just for the great songs and great singing, but for the extremely outstanding musicianship delivered by Gail. A CD I guarantee you will listen to always.
GAIL BLANCO | Sweet Love "16 Easy-Listening Favorites
Label: Universal Records
1. Initial Thrill
2. Let's Wait Awhile
3. It's You
4. Sometimes A Love Goes Wrong
6. Tonight I Give In
7. In My Life
8. You Touched My Life
9. Hiding Inside Myself
10. The Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye
11. Follow Your Road
12. Forever Blue
13. Just Because
14. Through The Fire
15. Here Comes The Sun
16. Night Bird