DEGREES OF JAZZ
Robert J. Lewis
Featured artist: CAROL WELSMAN
of the founder of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Carol Welsman’s
musical pedigree is about as good as it gets, in a country that,
on a per capita basis, produces more top rate female singers than
anywhere in the world. But despite the DNA and looks that could
have led to a career in modelling, Carol’s decision to become
a jazz singer did not immediately translate into success. There
were 15 long years of playing into the wee hours of the morning
in clubs that produced more second hand smoke than applause, until
1996 when she received a Juno award nomination for best contemporary
jazz album. Since then, her career, now based in LA, has been
a fairy tale come true.
how upright the piano or your angle to the stage, you’re
not likely to miss the 6 feet tall, pulchritudinous, blond Welsman.
Backing herself up with understated piano chops that combine swing,
Latin, R & B, pop and jazz, an evening with this Canadian
for all seasons is a lesson on how the standards, including jazz
interpretations of pop, should be sung, as well as a composition
or two of her own. A talented wordsmith, the polyglot Welsman
has penned lyrics for film and musical luminaries such as Ginette
Reno and Ray Charles.
repertoire often throws into bold relief that even among the genre’s
best critics there hasn’t been sufficient critical condemnation
of voices, even great ones, poorly matched to a particular song.
Without mentioning names, we have all known of singers belting
out ballads meant to be whispered. If one of the unexpected pleasures
of listening to Carol Welsman is that she strikes the ear as being
deliciously dead-on from one musical moment to the next, it’s
because she knows her voice and the songs that are enhanced by
most recent CD, The Language of Love, was released in
2003. It includes You Take me Away (by C. Welsman), The Man I
Love, Taking a Chance on Love, On A Slow Boat to China, A Nightingale
Sang in Berkeley Square.
to Carol sing: EVERY
BREATH YOU TAKE