Female jazz vocalists seem all the rage at the moment, yet despite this fact, few seem to gain much attention from the general public. How many people have heard the name Amanda Carr? To be quite honest, I hadn’t. But after listening to her latest CD, THE TENDER TRAP, I will pay closer attention to her recording output and touring schedule. Amanda may not possess the best of singing voices, but never mind. Her warm alto voice coupled with her expressive phrasing make her a first-rate vocalist. The CD opens with an attention grabbing "Never Will I Marry." Drummer Kenny Hadley kicks off the tune with a sturdy rhythm and then Amanda joins in for a brief duet. Then things really start swingin’ and tenor sax player, Jerry Vejmola kicks in with a fine solo.
What’s really great about Carr’s CD is her choice of material.... she mixes classic tunes ("The Tender Trap," "That Old Devil Moon.") with the less familiar.... an amazingly haunting version of Abby Lincoln’s "Throw It Away," and groovin’ "No More Blues." She proves herself to be a competent composer with the Latin-flavored "What Are We Asking For?" Carr is backed with a fine rhythm section with includes John Wilkins on guitar, Hadley on drums and Bronek Suchanek on bass. Guest artists add extra flavor to the proceedings, most notably, Arnie Krakowsky’s tenor sax solo on the Duke Ellington classic, "Tulip Or Turnip." The 13-track CD provides the usual mix of up-tempo songs with poignant ballads, but Carr’s fine delivery and easy swinging style elevates what could be standard jazz vocal album to an exceptional listening experience. This is one CD that I’m sure you’ll play over and over again.