Described as the “Queen of Beale Street” by some, and “Memphis’ Queen of jazz, soul and pop” by others, Joyce Cobb earns any accolade that she has garnered over the years on her latest self-titled CD recorded with the Michael Jefry Stevens Trio.
Ms. Cobb is a vocal talent that conjures up all sorts of images of the great jazz singers. Stevens, in an interview in the studio (Youtube) describes Cobb as “a cross between Billy Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald.” I couldn’t agree with him more. While these are strong words to describe any jazz singer, in this case, I feel they are inadequate. Joyce Cobb is an example where the artist learns from the masters and creates their own sound that is elementally their own.
Cobb attributes her style to a disciplined attention to detail learned in the Catholic choir, and a love of jazz singing acquired as a teen and mastered over years of study and practice. Cobb demonstrates her sheer musicality, range and dynamics on such classic vocal compositions as Carmichel-Mercer’s Skylark, or the great Blue Skies, one of Irving Berlin’s wonderful compositions. This piece is commendable, but the way she rolls right into the groove of In Walked Bud, was amazing! The ability to shift gears like that and keep the listener hooked in is a special gift.
The CD is loaded with great titles, executed by the MJS Trio with a remarkable sensitivity to the singer’s presence at every stage of the songs. This CD is one of the finest examples of the trio backed jazz vocalist. Filled with a track list that is unique, and
suited especially well to Ms. Cobb’s style and voicing. On "If You Know Love," "I Thought About You," and "It’s Over Now," the listener gets the full emotional range of Cobb’s song-craft. From whimsical, to deep blues, to melancholy Joyce Cobb’s expressive voicing and beautiful purity is entertaining on so many dimensions.
You will search high and low to find a jazz vocalist of this quality today. My advice is look no further and check out the latest CD, Joyce Cobb and the Michael Jefry Stevens Trio on Archer Records.