Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

VANESSA COLLIER

HEART ON THE LINE

2020-11-01

On this, her 4th disc, saxophonist and vocalist Vanessa Collier gives a master class in weaving a rich tapestry of funk, blues, soul and rock. Drawing on her education at the Berklee College of Music and a heavy dose of natural talent, Collier frolics through the 11 tunes collected here with a joy that is never studied or forced. While she does plenty of work on Tenor, Soprano, Baritone and Alto Saxes as well as resonator guitar and cowbell she also brings a horn section, keys and hot shot guitarist Laura Chavez to the party. A glimpse of her young, smiling face on the cover of the disc doesn’t prepare you for the vocal grit and octave leaping gymnastics she brings to the Randy Newman rock classic, "Leave Your Hat On", where she duels with the horns and Chavez’ smoking guitar lines. "Take a Chance On Me" is a thumping rocker where she throws down her invitation to overlook her independent streak and small stature with the promise that the risk will be rewarded. Elsewhere, she channels Bonnie Raitt’s earnest vocal style on the ballad "I Don’t Want Anything to Change" and takes the proceedings to the swamp with her resonator guitar on "Bloodhound". Funk gets a visit on James Brown’s "Super Bad" while the blues enter the mix on "Weep and Moan" which gives the full band a chance to shine as the horn section lays down a wall of sound to compliment Collier’s wailing sax lines. "Who’s In Power?" features not only some great sax work by Collier but probing lyrics searching for accountability regarding the various predicaments we find ourselves in. The soulful, playful "Freshly Squozen" finds her shifting gears yet again with vocals that recall Waitress in a Donut Shop era Maria Muldaur. The title track closes out the set with a gospel style rave up. As she sings about going home to put her heart on the line it is easy to envision of parade of listeners joining in the fun and following her. This is a terrific disc from start to finish. Smitty

review by Mark

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.