Verena McBee U-PHORIA Review
Previous
RANDOM
Meg Blumberg Wading Review
Next
paula-harris-chalked-up-reviews-hero-blues
Blues

Paula Harris Speakeasy Review

by July 19, 2019

Paula Harris Speakeasy Review

paula-harris-cur-cd Paula Harris originally hails from Clemson, South Carolina but now resides in Northern California by way of San Francisco.  Harris caught the blues crowd’s ear when she was one of the finalists in the International Blues Challenge in 2012.  Harris’ awards also include: 2018 NCEMA Best Female Blues Singer, 6 time Northern California Entertainers and Music Awards Nominee, 2013 Blues Music Award Nominee for Best New Artist, 2013 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee Best New Artist, Winner Monterey Blues Festivals 2012 Battle of the Bands and Winner of the 2011 Golden Gate Blues Society’s Battle of the Bands.

About the Album

Speakeasy presents sixteen tracks that run the gamut from straight-ahead blues to jazz standards. Joining Harris is a collection of both blues and jazz musicians, which include Nate Ginsberg on piano (Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Greg Allman) Derrick “D’Mar” Martin on drums (Little Richard, Anthony Paule) and upright bassist Rich Girard (Lou Rawls, Mose Allison). To augment the rhythm section Harris enlists Grammy-winning trumpeter Bill Ortiz (Santana). Big Llou Johnson makes a guest appearance on “Something Wicked.” The ensemble does a great job of supporting Harris as she delivers the goods with passion and a true blues spirit.

Our Favorite Track

“I Wanna Hate Myself Tomorrow (For Raising Hell Tonight)” is our favorite track. Built on a bluesy, funk and jazz inspired bassline provide by Girard, the band builds a groove that is contagious. Harris enters with authority and with ample blues attitude. Ginsberg’s piano playing isPaula-Harris excellent. Harris’ inflections are spot on, with glissandos and blue notes in all the right spaces. She does a good job of building the melodic line through the blues form, rising in register, character and attitude to sell us the blues melody in a believable manner.  Ginsberg’s piano solo is energetic and does fill the space of the traditional guitar role very well, after all, it is unusual not to have a six-string gunslinger on the date. The stomps from the band give Harris an opportunity to shine in her upper register and she adds just the right amount of growl.

In Conclusion

The mix of blues and jazz lends a bit of a mixed result.  Harris is very strong on the blues tunes, but a bit underwhelming on the jazz cuts in particular.  Stylistically, her voice and rhythm style are much more suited to the blues, which is certainly where her focal point is as an artist.  That being said, the blues cuts are where she exhibits her vocal prowess with ease. Speakeasy is well worth exploring, but I would plant your chair on the blues side of the aisle on this one.

chalked-up-reviews-buy-music

Overview
Artist

Paula Harris

Album

Speakeasy

Label

Blu Gruv Music

Release Date

June 1, 2019

Report Card
C.U.R. Grades
You Grade The Music
Rate Here
Originality
B
Sound Quality
A-
Solos
A
Arrangements
B
Band Sound
A-
Vocal Quality
A-
Art Work
B-
Feel
A
B+
C.U.R. Grades
You Grade The Music
You have rated this
What's your reaction?
I Love It
0%
Cool
0%
It's OK
0%
What?
0%
I'm Sad
0%
I Hate It
0%

Leave a Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.