Carter Calvert and the Roger Cohen Trio

by Constance Tucker

Unmatched command and unwavering pitch, two attributes this reviewer looks for in a vocalist to call it head and shoulders in the crowded field of vocal jazz. Enter stage right, Carter Calvert.  Though Calvert has a long lineage of stage performance under her belt, one could never call her a cabaret singer, as she is clearly so much more.  Calvert has the kind of voice and range that could tackle the most difficult pop arrangement to the most intricate jazz composition.  She truly is in command of her falsetto, low dulcet tones and mid-range belt.  Each range of her voice is at Calvert’s command to shape and mold exactly into what she eloquently wants to say.

Carter Calvert and the Roger Cohen Trio is a true collaboration with husband Roger Cohen on drums and leading up the arrangements Calvert is truly in caring hands.  Calvert tackles so not so jazz titles (which is refreshing), and touches on country and Broadway, but don’t expect that traditional sound, oh no – Calvert delivers hits like “Memory” with a 12/8 feel and a complete harmonic overhaul. The ensemble augments with a subtle yet underpinned grooving feel. Then right when they have you in the thick of it, Cohen changes the sensation and picks up his sticks and digs in brazenly – this is truly a signature song for Calvert, which truly makes sense since she played Grizabella in the national Broadway tour of Cats.

“Crazy,” most commonly associated with Patsy Cline, shows Calvert’s ability to capably render a country classic into the jazz idiom. Another highlight on the album is the introspective read on “Time After Time,” featuring backing vocals by platinum selling artist Rob Evan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The rendition is haunting and moving.  Calvert is truly a full-bodied vocalist and the cast of musicians supporting her is certainly an “A” list gathering.  One can only hope for more to come and potentially an instrumental CD from the Roger Cohen Trio, to truly round out one’s jazz collection.

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