Adia Ledbetter: Take 2: Rendezvous with Yesterdays
Adia Ledbetter on Vocals
Freeman Ledbetter on Bass
Orlandus Perry on Drums
Ed Paolantonio on Piano
Justin C. Martin on Guitar
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 23, 2014
This is a lovely compilation of Adia Ledbetter’s vocals of renowned ballads, as well as personal musings (“Rendezvous with Yesterdays”). A very professional combo joins the vocals on bass, drums, piano, and guitar. Ms. Ledbetter sings with hints of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, while introducing her own, personal interpretations, adding some scat, spoken words, and solitary notes held endlessly in space. The music is worth listening to on repeat experiences, to appreciate not only the group’s nuanced talent, but also the musically blended repertoire of the ten selected pieces. I chose four standards below, as they were just right for late night listening. However, Ms. Ledbetter’s title track, Rendezvous with Yesterdays will give you a window into this artist’s reflections on current news and her inner emotions. One musician I didn’t get to mention below, Justin C. Martin on guitar, performs with elegance and poignancy on “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right out of My Life” by Coleman/McCarthy.
#2 –Darn that Dream – Composed by Van Heusen/DeLange. Adia Ledbetter croons this ballad with warmth and vibrancy, featuring Ed Paolantonio on piano and Freeman Ledbetter on bass. Piano and bass merge fluently in a duo interlude, with a touch of percussive brushes, before vocals evoke a fireplace mood toward the finale.
#4 –Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man of Mine – Composed by Kern/Hammerstein II. Once again piano and bass support Ms. Ledbetter’s even more dynamic vocals on this track, taking their own riff about halfway through the tune. Ms. Ledbetter belts this song from Showboat with exuberance and emotion.
#5–I Can’t Give You Anything but Love – Composed by McHugh/Fields. This track is a vocal-bass duo throughout, with a bass introduction and interlude, plus strong vocal backup. Freeman Ledbetter uses the deepness of the strings as a second vocalist, harmonizing tempo and tone with Ms. Ledbetter, who infuses scat and quasi-scat, plus contemporary styling to twist this tune into something fresh and intriguing.
#9 –These Foolish Things – Composed by Strachey/Maschwitz. This was my favorite track, with buoyant piano, drums, and bass creating a blended quartet with Ms. Ledbetter’s breezy lyrics. There’s a stretching to each vocal note as the ballad winds down, with Ms. Ledbetter shifting key midway, bonding with the piano for a fused harmonic chord.