By Scott Yanow | Published December 2018
Rachel Caswell has a distinctive, versatile voice and a flexible style.
The singer’s latest recording, We’re All In The Dance, features her performing a diverse set of material arranged by guitarist Dave Stryker, while joined by an all-star group. The tight and intuitive interplay between pianist Fabian Almazan and bassist Linda May Han Oh—with subtle support from drummer Johnathan Blake—is a constant joy.
The program begins with a medium-tempo rendition of Sting’s “Fragile,” one of three pieces on which the singer’s sister, violinist Sara Caswell, makes an appearance. “A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening” is swung and contains some horn-like scatting, while the next two songs (the folkish “We’re All In The Dance” and a surprisingly abstract rendition of Bob Dorough’s “Devil May Care”) offer a change of pace. But Caswell is at her best on a Brazilian-tinged ballad version of “Two For The Road” and in her lowdown blues singing on “Drown In My Own Tears.” This worthy set concludes with a thoughtful, drumless treatment of “Reflections (Looking Back),” Jon Hendrick’s words set to Thelonious Monk’s “Reflections.”
We’re All In The Dance: Fragile; A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening; We’re All In the Dance; Devil May Care; Two For The Road; Drown In My Own Tears; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; Tell Me A Bedtime Story; Dexterity; Reflections (Looking Back). (58:26)
Personnel: Rachel Caswell, vocals; Dave Stryker, guitar; Fabian Almazan, piano, Fender Rhodes; Linda May Han Oh, bass; Johnathan Blake, drums; Sarah Caswell, violin (1, 3, 5).