Pamela Means Jazz Project (PMJP)
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Pamela Means Jazz Project (PMJP)

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""Means is, quite simply, superb.""

Means is, quite simply, superb...Her guitar playing is very tasty indeed, her voice...tender, and her version of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is heart-rending.” - HiFi Magazine, London UK


""Means takes her rightful place among superstar jazz vocalists""

Pamela Means Jazz Project, Vol. 1,

Pamela Means (Wirl Records)

On this eight-track disc comprised mostly of jazz standards, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and out dyke hottie veers off in a different --though not unfamiliar to her direction. Though many have come to know and love her as one of the fiercest guitar players and politically rooted folk singers in the music industry today, her roots
are in jazz; she trained classically at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music before heading to Boston to make her mark on the folk scene there. With her skillful delivery of snappy lounge classics like "All of Me", "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Sunny Side of the Street," interspersed with intense renderings of sparse vocal ballads like "My Funny Valentine" and "I Got It Bad," Means takes her rightful place among contemporary superstar jazz vocalists such as Cassandra Wilson and Norah Jones. My personal favorite is her breathy take on Nina Simone's "Four Women," though the jazzified version of her funky original "My Love" comes in a close second. - Curve Magazine


""Pamela's sultry velvet voice transforms the classic[s]""

Pamela Means: Jazz Project Vol. 1
is a pleasantly surprising collection of revamped jazz standards. Surprising because I came to know of her through her work with poet Alix Olson, who has a fierce folk-punk tone to her spoken word music. The Pamela Means Jazz Project goes in an entirely different direction with smokey vocals and deep jazz rhythms. The band consists of Means on vocal and guitar, Anand Nayak on bass, and Sturgis Cunningham on drums. The trio recorded the album live in studio with no overdubs or edits, and released it on Means' independent label Wirl Records.

Billie Holiday and Nina Simone are two of my favourite singers of all time, and I think most people would agree that those ladies were in a class of their own. So it takes a lot of courage and an even larger amount of talent for a modern singer to successfully cover songs that Billie and Nina made famous. Pamela Means tackles both Billie's upbeat "All of Me" and Nina's deeper "Four Women" on this album, and amazingly she does both well. And while I never much cared for Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" before, Pamela's sultry velvet voice transforms the classic into a torch song.

I was also surprised and impressed by her cover "My Funny Valentine". Though the song holds special significance to me for personal reasons, I rarely like contemporary covers of it. Give me Chet Baker or Etta James, but the song usually sounds unimaginative and monotonous when sung by anyone else. Means, however, manages to refresh this old ode to unconditional love by giving it a deep new bass heart.

"My Love" is the only original song by Pamela Means on the disc. The smooth blend of Pamela's jazzy vocals and funky bass rhythm enable the track to stand out as the modern work that it is while at the same time fitting right in with the classic covers that make up the rest of the album. A low key cover of Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad" gently closes the album. - muruch blogspot


Discography

Pamela Means Jazz Project, Vol. 1

Photos

Bio

Pamela Means, Brooklyn-based, internationally-touring, conservatory-trained, award-winning singer-songwriter steps forward, splitting her gemini self in two, with an inspired 'live-in-the-studio' jazz trio cd, Pamela Means Jazz Project, Vol. 1.

In so doing, Means "takes her rightful place among contemporary superstar jazz vocalists such as Cassandra Wilson and Norah Jones" (Curve Magazine) and becomes one of the only musicians in the industry working and winning acclaim as both political folksinger and jazz chanteuse.

Pamela Means also racks up top honors with her debut jazz release, Pamela Means Jazz Project, Vol. 1, being named Top Ten Album of 2007 by muruch blogspot.