Coming off a nine-year stint with the late Les Paul, Australian-born Nicki Parrott issues her second solo effort in as many years, using standards to showcase her considerable skills as a bass-playing chanteuse. As compelling as her relaxed, come-hither vocal style is her choice of such offbeat gems as “Charade,” “Waltzing Matilda,” and “Two for the Road.” Down under, her upright is big on tone, swing, and support, with step-outs on the title track, “Evil Gal Blues,” “Them There Eyes,” and a scat-nbass solo on “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.”
Brian Bromberg: It Is What It Is [Mack Avenue-Artistry Music]
Never one to shun the smooth jazz specter, it seems only fitting that Brian Bromberg jumpstarts the sagging idiom with his vibrant latest effort. Punctuated by a 5- piece horn section and all-star guest list throughout, the 13-track disc gets down to business with the hard-swinging big band title track opener. From there come feel-good covers of “Love Shack” and “Sanford and Son Theme,” fretless poise on “Heaven,” and Marcus-nodding thumb on “Elephants on Skates” and “Mr. Miller.” For full sonic contrast, dig the resonant solo tenor bass ballad “Mirror” and the disc-closing “Slap Happy,” with Brian in shredder mode on overdriven piccolo bass.