When Joyce Cooling’s Third Wish CD came in the mail, I was excited from the moment I got it in my hot little hands. I unwrapped the cellophane like it was Christmas. Joyce …
When Joyce Cooling’s Third Wish CD came in the mail, I was excited from the moment I got it in my hot little hands. I unwrapped the cellophane like it was Christmas. Joyce Cooling’s Keeping it Cool CD is one my favorites. The song "Callie" can send me bopping down the highway in my car like a twenty-something on one of those slick car commercials. And twenty-something I’m not!
As I loaded the CD, I realized I was looking for another "Callie". Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news; the bad news is I didn’t find another Callie, and the good news is I didn’t need to. Joyce Cooling is versatile and she fully demonstrates it on this CD. The title cut Third Wish is the closest to a Callie clone, but it has a lighter touch, with more emphasis on the melody. It’s an optimistic feel good groove with a good measure of flow and funk.
The song that is sure to rival Callie’s chart topping success is cut three "Mm-Mm Good" This cut with lead vocals by GRP label mate Al Jarreau is already a favorite among radio listeners. It has an almost traditional jazz rhythm combined with Jarreau’s scat mastery; it’s nothing but a jam. You can easily imagine Ben Vereen moving his body to this music as he tips his bowler hat.
The surprise of the CD is cut seven, "It’ll Come Back To You." This song departs from the instrumental/vocalese pattern. It sounds more like a pop single with a styling similar to Julia Fordham. The vocals are surprisingly smooth and relaxing, the lady can sing as well as play guitar. There’s a lonely yearning with a little country phrasing.
Cooling hails from the New York-New Jersey area where she grew up listening to an eclectic mix of pop, jazz, heavy metal, Brazilian, rap, R&B and folk. She didn’t consider music as career until she moved to the San Francisco Bay area in the early 80’s and was exposed to an African drumming class. Self -taught on the guitar she has an unusual picking style that makes her sound distinctive. Cooling teamed up with keyboardist/ producer Jim Wagner in the mid-80’s and they’ve been a powerful songwriting duo ever since.
Cooling and Wagner have been working with bassist Gary Calvin and drummer Billy Johnson steadily for years and it shows in the skillful interweaving of the instrumentals. Other musicians on the CD include: David Garibaldi, drums, Peter Michael Escovedo, percussion, Bill Ortiz and Peter Welker horns, and Helcio Milito tamba drums/percussion.
On the Brazilian inspired cut "Tamba" Cooling’s guitar take’s charge with a relaxing, yet insistent melody that’s accented by the brushed Latin beat of the Tamba drum. You get the feeling that Cooling is taking you on a journey and she knows exactly where you’ll end up. It’s like wandering down a street and you’re whistling because the sights are so nice. And of course you’re swaying that body too!
The fourth cut "Daddy-O" is a light fast moving vibe that would be good for a drive down the coast. It relaxes you and at the same time builds anticipation. The keyboard and trumpet work to support Cooling’s rippling sequences, which are caught by the percussion and brought back to the melody. Cut five, "Don’t mind If I Do" pensively asking a question, before it gives its own assured answer. There is a swinging background that has an almost country lilt, but the rhythm keeps it funky. Other Jazz-funk cuts include, "Jelly On My Jacket", a cool finger- popping jam and "Eastside", so cool you feel like you should be in a dark jazz-cellar in dark sunglassesCut ten "It’s All Because Of Loving You" is quiet, beautiful, and sentimental. The rippling scales of music and piercing melody are like an emotional oasis, while the tune "Whenever The Rain Falls" begins with high energy then comes the rain. You can here it in the instrumentals and the vocals. Cooling takes a moment of quiet in the storm, before the jam picks up to end in a slamming beat.
The Third Wish CD is relaxing, but it’s not soporific smooth jazz to go to sleep by. The more you listen to it, the more you like it. It’s like a good book or movie that you can discover more and more layers each time you go back. It has oomph! All I can say is Mm-Mm Good!