The title of Rebecca DuMaine‘s third album is from Antonio Carlos Jobim‘s lyric to “One Note Samba” which is featured here as one of two Brazilian flavored tunes. The other is “The Face That I Love” by Marcos Valle (actually known as “The Face I Love”) which was also recently covered by the brilliant Stacey Kent.
Rebecca’s voice and her approach to these 12 standards here is one without any gimmicks, straight-forward, crystal clear voice, no distracted or wanna-be vibrato. Just plain mezzo-soprano singing with a svelte touch. The band swings in the best sense of the word: Dave Miller (Rebecca’s father) on piano, Mario Suraci on bass, and Bill Belasco on drums – all Bay area musicians with a lot of style and crisp, articulated solos from each.
Rebecca comes from acting and so she chose to record songs that were “act-able”. Some of them habe been recorded by the late great Blossom Dearie (“Down With Love”, “They Say It’s Spring”, “If I Were A Bell”), others are a bit more contemporary like “Pure Imagination” (done here in a no-holds-barred interpretation with a short scat sequence, all unagitated and clean) from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Still others use the added flavor of Brad Buethe on guitar (like the opener “Beautiful Love”).
I have to admit that I have almost become tired of “One Note Samba” even though her working on this classic is flawless and clear. On “Exactly Like You”, her experience as an actress shines through as she plays out the story and intones it with convincing charme and phrasing. But she’s also pretty consistent in the slower numbers like in “You’ve Changed”, even though the tempo speeds up a bit after the first part. Here, she sounds like she’s really lamenting the fact that the other half is not really interested anymore and sort of rushes through the song as if she wanted to say “why make an effort?”.
It is a relatively safe journey here for Rebecca – some of the songs are on the verge of being worn out like “Too Close For Comfort”, but there is really nothing wrong here with her musicality.