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Meet Naima Shamborguer: The heir-apparent to Sarah Vaughan

 

 

With the sultry, smooth style reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan, jazz aficionados call her the last of a dying breed.

The late Hugh Lawson deemed her “the closest that he has ever heard to Sarah Vaughan, all she needs is to be heard.”

A “Motown “ treasure, Naima has performed  with many jazz greats, including Marcus Belgrave, James Carter, Geri Allen, Kenny Burrell, Berry Harris, Donald Byrd, Steve Turre, Rodney Whitaker, Freddie Hubbard, Marion Hayden and Wendell Harrison.

 

 

By Dirk Binsau of Jazz-not-Jazz

 

I’ve mentioned Naima Shambourguer earlier on jazz-not-jazz in my review of The Book Of Tia, the debut album of her niece Tia Imani Hanna.

 

With her second album - A Blossom Sings - having arrived lately in my mailbox, it’s time to introduce you to Naima herself.

 

She may be the best kept secret of her hometown Detroit, but believe me, she has all the right ingredients it takes to be a truly great jazz songstress.

 

She has a clear, rich and warm voice.The right, sometimes debonair phrasing, and she has chosen just the right musicians and mixture of cover versions and original compositions to deliver a mesmerizing jazz album.

 

Like any gifted jazz singer, Naima really adopts a cover version, makes it her own song, whether she adds her own lyrics to the tune (like on the album’s opener Jeannine, a tune composed by Duke Pearson with new vocals written by Naima herself, or on Felton Spark’s Puerto Vallarta) or simply delivers an impressive update of a song.

 

The mid-tempo Hello Like Before, originally done by Bill Withers, is a good example. Or take Miles Davis’ Evergreen So What that features some fine scatting by Naima.

 

My personal favourite cover here is the epic version of You And Me Against The World, originally recorded by Helen Reddy. The song is done with a slight Latin twist, with percussion by Juma Santos and guitar by Vaughn Klugh and it is just nine and a half minutes of pure heaven.

 

Music In The Air, an uplifting dance groove, is a inspiring example of Naima’s composing skills. It’s the song on which her fellow musicians like Pam Wise (piano), Marion Hayden (bass) or Gaye Lynn McKinney (drums) get a chance to show their talent with solos in over eight minutes while Naima only sings at the beginning.

 

Also worth mentioning is Naima’s beautiful tribute song to the late Sarah Vaughn, A Blossom Sings. Actually, Naima’s paean to Sarah Vaughn sounds much more convincing and better to my ears than Dianne Reeves’ I Remember Sarah from her album The Calling - Celebrating Sarah Vaughn from 2001.


In fact I could recommend virtually any of the 13 songs - they are all very good.

 

In a nutshell, A Blossom Sings is a great, timeless jazz album.

 

Tracklisting of A Blossom Sings 1. Jeannine/ 2. Hello Like Before/ 3. So What/ 4. Lazy Afternoon/ 5. Rhythm-a-ning/ 6. A Blossom Sings/ 7. Land of Illusion/ 8. You and Me Against the World/ 9. Tristee/ 10. Sands of Love/ 11. Puerto Vallarta/ 12. Solitude/ 13. Music In The Air | released 2002 Shambones Music.

 

For more infos visit naima.mybesthost.com

 

Dirk Binsau broadcasts and blogs at Jazz-not-Jazz

 

Sample music, courtesy of cdbaby.

TRACKS
PLAY LO-FI MP3 lo-fi: dial-up
PLAY HI-FI MP3 hi-fi: broadband

 A Blossom Sings
 Land of Illusion
 You and Me Against the World
 Puerto Vallarta
 Music In The Air




Naima Shamborguer: A Blossom Sings

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