Chicago native, composer and vocalist Paula Prophet studied classical guitar as a child, but credits her musical training to listening to the Motown and classic jazz singers as a child. She credits her work of 20 years as a licensed therapist in providing the inspiration for compositional/lyricist abilities. Her previous work includes time spent performing with Dr. Feelgood and the Interns of Love, on tour throughout the United States and internationally. This short 23-minute demo/introductory CD is the jazz camp in same manner of Angela Bofill’s first recordings of jazz; they both are informed from a jazz sensibility, but have very strong overt overtones of R&B.
This well-produced disc, while short, shows off Prophet’s enchanting voice to its best effect. Backed by slick R&B rhythm tracks, Prophet has a lilting voice that is deeply soulful and passionate. Not too over-indulgent with melismas, thankfully, Prophet still sings with the deeply rich alto that conveys both the passage of time with respect to lessons learned along the way, as well as having a playfulness conveying there is still much more to come.
If there is a problem with the recording, it’s that while as a composer/lyricist Prophet has culled a good collection of songs, she composed all of them, they don’t quite give her the room her vocal abilities suggest. “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me,” while a nice track to put near the end of a longer CD, doesn’t have quite enough umph needed when putting together a short EP-like disc as this one. Other tracks, however, are very good. “That Man,” featuring some tasty saxophone by John Rekevics, swings sweetly and “From Me To You” is a winner. Here’s hoping this won’t be all we hear from this up-and-coming vocalist.