Linda Purl, This Could Be the Start Review
Embracing New Beginnings: Linda Purl’s Resonant Blend of Jazz and Story in This Could Be the Start
By Constance Tucker
As a music reviewer, I am always happy to be immersed in the rich tapestry of music; it is a delight to pen this review of Linda Purl’s recent album, This Could Be the Start. Embarking on a deep exploration of life’s uncertainty, Purl’s latest endeavor dives into the joys and jolts of leaping into the unknown, particularly in the realm of love. Purl paints an evocative, dynamic soundscape backed by her trusted collaborators, Music Director Tedd Firth, David Finck, Ray Marchica, and Nelson Rangell.
A classic showbiz trouper with an impressive body of work both on screen and stage, Purl brings an experienced, theatrical depth to this jazz ensemble. The album opens with Steve Allen’s “This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” a playful, effervescent tune that dances with anticipation and promise. Purl’s rendition is spirited, her jazz-inflected vocals introducing us to the intricate narrative she aims to share.
Perhaps it is her rich understanding of a character’s inner life, honed through years of acting, that lets Purl weave a compelling story in her music. Take, for example, “I’m in the Mood for Love” – a classic romantic staple transformed into an intimate dialogue. Every note feels personal, the sensuality in her voice a hushed whisper drawing listeners into her confessional.
Purl’s intuitive grasp of storytelling through music is beautifully exemplified in “Live Alone and Like It,” a Stephen Sondheim piece turned jazz exploration of self-love. In contrast to its Broadway roots, Purl’s version unfolds like a self-empowering hymn, a tribute to solitude that strikes a universal chord.
However, Purl’s emotive range allows itself to be something other than serious or introspective. “Not While I’m Around,” another Sondheim composition, is infused with a tender protectiveness that tugs at the heartstrings, while “Two Hearts on Lawns,” originally by Carla Bley and Sara Teasdale, showcases a playful side of Purl’s repertoire.
The album’s harmonic landscape, thoughtfully crafted by Firth, complements Purl’s performance. Firth’s melodic piano provides a rhythmically rich setting for Purl’s vocals, with Finck, Marchica, and Rangell providing a musical backbone that ebbs and flows, matching the album’s emotional intensity.
Linda Purl’s This Could Be the Start is a musical journey, a testament to the artist’s matured understanding of jazz as a storytelling medium. It honors the genre’s history while adding her unique interpretation, blurring the boundaries of where one genre ends and another begins. It is the sound of an artist who is not afraid to experiment, to reveal the raw, unadulterated truth of human experiences.
Every note and lyric in This Could Be the Start resonates with unmistakable sincerity, emblematic of Purl’s steadfast devotion to originality. The album is a distinctive blend of Broadway narrative eloquence and jazz sensibilities, a signature style quintessentially Linda Purl. As a critic who cherishes vocal authenticity and originality, this album signals a new, exciting phase in Purl’s illustrious musical journey. Akin to a riveting novella, her voice takes you through the highs and lows, joys and sorrows, promising an immersive experience. This Could Be the Start is an essential listen for those jazz vocal fans who value not merely the melody but the spirit and narrative power of a compelling vocalist, a storyteller in song.