Jacqueline Tabor, The Lady in the Gown – Review
by Constance Tucker
Seattle’s own Jacqueline Tabor has been winning ears with her unique blend of jazz with blues inflections for years, it is only now with the release of her third outing we have become aware of this fine artist. The jazz community is in for a treat. A native of Bellevue, Washington, Tabor graduated from Sammamish High School where she studied music under Jack Halm, who taught in the Bellevue School District and at Seattle Pacific University. Tabor went on to study Music and History at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she developed a deep understanding of the blues and the origins of jazz music. After taking a break from singing to focus on raising her children, Tabor returned to her hometown of Seattle in 2003. Once reacquainted with the beautiful Emerald City, she began performing more seriously in various clubs and competitions.
Tabor’s previous albums What a Wonderful World (2011), and The Jazz in You (2012), featured a burgeoning vocalist in the making with the release of The Lady in The Gown (2018), we hear a fully engaged and developed vocalist whose style is focused and polished. Tabor’s voice is dripping with soulfulness, something sorely missing too many times in the jazz genre that is directly akin to jazz.
The Lady in the Gown highlights fifteen popular jazz tunes including one original title track. The ensemble who is equally polished features: Cole Schuster: guitar; Greg Feingold: bass and Max Holmberg: drums. Tabor’s original and the title track is especially pleasing, she lyrically portrays the modern woman, who must handle many subjects on the run, all the while pursuing her dreams at the same time. Tabor’s voice is commanding, filled with blues inflections and deeply swinging grooves. Her ensemble is up to the task supporting and highlighting the vocalist in a respectful group sound.
Another tune you don’t see often on albums is the track “Tight,” featured on Jazzmeia Horn’s album Social Call, Tabor has a bluesier take on this classic Better Carter tune. The tune like Carter’s reading is short and sweet and to the point, and Tabor’s rendition is respectful and eloquently natural. Tabor cannot help but to be soulful, which deepens the delivery of the tune.
The Seattle scene seems to be filled with great jazz vocalists, ranging in style and approach. One thing rings true, each uniquely has a voice that is singularly theirs. No replicates or “sounds like” here, just honest artistry that speaks for itself. Tabor is certainly in that group and ranks to my ears towards the top of that list. The Lady in the Gown is a step forward in the discography for Tabor, and a lasting calling card of the deepening of her sound.