By Jon Ross | Published November 2019
The Atlanta jazz scene endures primarily on a steady diet of restaurant and hotel gigs. Vocalist Deb Bowman, a New York transplant who has carved out a career down South, fits perfectly here. But for Fast Heart, Bowman’s second disc as a leader, the versatile vocalist journeyed back to New York to record with a stellar supporting cast. Kenyatta Beasley’s muted trumpet solos stand out, and Eric Lewis is an encouraging accompanist on both keyboards and piano.
The disc features four originals—Bowman’s first recording of her own compositions—and her connections to these personal tunes is visceral and immediate. She’s also able to address topics close to her heart without moving into overwrought or maudlin territory; the lyrics are made meaningful by her honest delivery. Bowman’s history with off-Broadway performance has influenced her approach to these small-band songs, and she takes on a chameleon-like delivery, changing her vocal approach and grain as the songs ebb and flow. She belts it out on slow, introspective ballads; her vocals skips along on uptempo tunes. Gospel is in Bowman’s musical DNA, too, and “Shelter Me From The Storm” is a stunning closer. Replete with a choir and wailing Hammond B-3, Bowman is nearly perfect at this speed.
Fast Heart: Willow In The Wind; Pannonica; Butterfly; Where Can We Go; La Vie En Rose; Moody’s Mood For Love; Georgia On My Mind; Crazy He Calls Me; Fast Heart; Shelter Me From The Storm. (56:33)
Personnel: Deb Bowman, vocals; Eric Lewis, piano, Rhodes; Steven Wolf, percussion; Greg Lewis, Hammond B-3; Matthew Garrison, bass; Kenyatta Beasley, trumpet; Marla Feeney violin, viola.