Simply natural and wonderfully awesome just begin to describe Carla Cook’s third Maxjazz release, “Simply Natural.” I was already in love with her from her first two releases and here comes a new one to make me love her even more. With each of her releases, Carla grows musically, vocally, and spiritually. In the liner notes she says, “For me it’s about the joy of singing and being in the process” and that is definitely reflected in her musical selections. She describes the songs for this album as “simple, elegant and compact.” Songs included are the very peaceful title track, “Simply Natural”, the playful “Tulip or Turnip”, “Watermelon Man”, “Summer” (Estate’), a moving rendition of “Scarborough Fair” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” She also included the soulful “Still Gotta Thing For You” which she composed 10 years ago but had not recorded until now. The energy and enthusiasm that she puts into her music definitely can be heard.
As on her first two albums, she is accompianed by jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut and this is definitely a winning combination. She is also accompanied by pianist Bruce Barth, who is also on the Maxjazz label.
I missed seeing perform at the Chicago Jazz Festival this year but I am certain she was excellent and I hope she comes to the Bay Area real soon.
There is an excellent interview with Carla on the AllAboutJazz.com website. For additional information on Carla, go to the Maxjazz website or her personal site, www.carlacook.com.
Reviews of her first two albums….
Carla Cook is one of the up and coming jazz artists on the Maxjazz label. “It’s All About Love” is her debut album and “Dem Bones” is her follow up to her debut CD. She is definitely a force to be dealt with and will be around for years to come. Both CD’s are filled with her melodic vocal stylings and she is also backed by jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut that is an added bonus. Some of the tracks included are remake of “Inner City Blues”, “The More I See You”, “Someone To Light Up My Life”, and “Can This Be Love.” She also shows her musical versatility by including a couple of pop and gospel songs on her albums. She is definitely worth a listen.