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ima by Yvette Tollar

Yvette Tollar is a Canadian vocalist and she has released a new compact disc entitled ima (pronounced ee-mah), it is an album of varied musical styles. There are world influences. Pop inflections, folk tonality and even country vibes present themselves on some of the tunes. There are heavy jazz sensibilities at work and they come through on most of the tunes. Ms. Tollar has a wonderful voice, a great tone with very soothing qualities. She has an individual style. A style that is very much her own, she utilizes masterful phrasing, perhaps a skill set picked up studying with one of her teachers (Sheila Jordan).

The recording comes off in a laid back manner, due to the disarming qualities of the smooth as honey vocal approach employed by Yvette Tollar. The essence of the music is very spiritual, the delivery of her lyrics, or her musical contributor’s lyrics, is presented in a sincere, caring and spiritual style. She preaches on the opening track "Contradiction" as she delivers the poetry of Ehab Latoyef on a composition by Tollar’s sister in law Maryem Tollar. The music and the singing are in contrast, serene singing and exciting musicianship coursing through the song with blazing piano by Dave Restivo.

A composition by Kevin Breit "Do You Remember Me" a ballad that comes across as a near country tune care of Mr. Breit’s slide guitar style. The song is reminiscent of a tune Nora Jones would sing.

A folk song, "Edith and the Kingpin" by Joni Mitchell is given a very intense jazz feel, a wonderful rendition with excellent keyboard work by David Virelles. The rhythm section flows, boils and burns as bassist Rich Brown and drummer Larnell Lewis get down with serious dynamics.

The world influence is most prevalent on the song "Fall Down" written by Debashis Sinha. An Indian groove - featuring chant like rhythms, tabla pulses and an ethereal, image evoking bass guitar. The voices of the vocalists as they chant the melody takes on a deep spirituality.

A very pretty duet with Ms. Tollar and pianist Robi Botos on the Ernie Tollar composition "Sick Rose" with poetry by William Blake.

My favorite of this project, "Prayer For Humankindness" by David Restivo. There are two versions. The long form features David Virelles on piano and a world flavour care of a tabla pulse. The shorter version is a beautiful duet with Dave Restivo playing piano and Yvette Tollar singing in prayerful refrain.

The recording ima is well produced; credit is given to Rich Brown and Yvette Tollar for production. The musicianship is excellent; three of the best Canadian pianists share the accompaniment and create a magnificent back drop. The singing of Yvette Tollar is a treat, the voice of a nightingale, an impassioned singer. Beautiful!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Yvette Tollar
  • CD Title: ima
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Tracks: Contradiction, Do You Remember Me?, Edith And The Kingpin, I Forgive You, Fall Down, Sick Rose, Hang On, Prayer For Humankindness, Glittering Precipice, Ima, Prayer For Humankindness
  • Musicians: Yvette Tollar (vocals), Robi Botos, Dave Restivo, David Virelles (piano), Ernie Tollar (bamboo flute, saxophone), Rich Brown (bass), Larnell Lewis (drums), Kevin Breit (guitar, mandolin), Deb Sinha (percussion), Mark Duggan (mbira), Sophia Grigoriadis, Allison Long (backing vocals)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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