Maria Kim, Misty Blue Review


Maria Kim, Misty Blue Review

by Constance Tucker

Maria-Kim-All-About-Vocals-cdMisty Blue by Maria Kim is a fine example of jazz vocal ability. Each track offers a unique example of her exceptional technique, clear diction, and emotional expressiveness.

The album opens with “Comes Love,” where Kim’s warm and expressive vocals set the stage. Her impeccable diction and playful improvisations, including subtle scatting embellishments, create a swinging, feel-good atmosphere. This track displays her ability to articulate each word clearly while maintaining the natural flow of the music.

In “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,” Kim’s lyrical and engaging performance breathes new life into this jazz standard. Her swinging vocals and playful melodic additions highlight her ability to deliver lyrics with precision and clarity. The track is a delightful blend of light and energetic vibes, demonstrating her technical control and expressive range.

The title track, “Misty Blue,” slows things down with a sultry swing, showcasing Kim’s sensual side. Her breathy passages and soulful embellishments draw listeners into an intimate, exotic ambiance. This track exemplifies her ability to convey deep emotions through subtle vocal inflections and tonal shifts, creating a rich, immersive listening experience.

“Peel Me a Grape” brings a fresh swingin’ sound to a classic jazz standard. Kim’s smooth and clean vocals and jovial piano playing make this track a light and joyous experience. Her clear enunciation and playful delivery add a layer of charm, making the lyrics pop against the lush instrumental backdrop.

“Tight,” featuring Benny Bennack III, is a medium swing selection with a hip vocal duet. The chemistry between Kim and Bennack is palpable, and their seamless blending of voices showcases Kim’s versatility. Her stunning vocal improvisation and precise diction enhance the track’s lively and engaging character.

“You’re Mine, You” is an intimate ballad that highlights Kim’s impressive vocal range. Her alluring vocals and piano flow elegantly, with Bennack’s expressive part adding to the classic jazz ballad feel. Kim’s ability to move gracefully between different sections of her vocal range, maintaining clarity and emotional depth, is particularly notable in this track.

“Some Cats Know” is an energetic medium swing perfect for dancing. Kim’s flirty voice brings the melody to life, complemented by the excellent ensemble playing. Her clear diction and playful, expressive delivery make this track a standout, demonstrating her ability to infuse each note with personality and vibrancy.

“Won’t You Open Your Senses” shifts to a medium funky groove, introducing a soul jazz setting. Kim’s rhythmic and vocal phasing match the straight-eight environment, with her tone gaining an edge to match the song’s energy. This track is a groovy, hip, and sensual journey, highlighting her versatility and ability to adapt her vocal style to different genres.

“Señor Blues” is a beautiful arrangement of Horace Silver’s classic. The relaxed six-eight groove pairs the elegance of Silver’s writing with the skill of Kim’s ensemble. Her upper register shines in this track, adding to the exotic Latin jazz vibe. Kim’s precise diction and emotional expressiveness are displayed, creating a captivating listening experience.

The album closes with “Jeannine,” a solid hard-bop performance. The chemistry between Kim and Bennack is evident, with both vocalists bringing their technical mastery to their vocal improvisations and vocalese. This track leaves a lasting impression, showcasing Kim’s ability to deliver complex vocal lines with clarity and emotional resonance.

Maria Kim’s Misty Blue is a vocal tour de force that highlights her  technique, clear diction, and emotional depth. Each track offers a unique example of her vocal artistry, making this album a must-listen for vocalists, industry professionals, and jazz aficionados. Misty Blue cements Kim’s status as a leading figure in the vocal jazz world and provides a rich, engaging listening experience that resonates on multiple levels.


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