San Francisco jazz singer Lin McPhillips throws elbows and says, "I'm here now" on My Shining Hour
, her self-produced recording debut. McPhillips returns to performing after a nearly 20-year hiatus, following in the creative footsteps of other notable West Coast jazz musicians (Art Pepper
, Frank Morgan
, Ed Reed
, and Hadley Caliman
), without the attendant harrowing reasons for the absence. No, McPhillips took time off to care for herself and family during which she taught jazz singing. With life issues winding down, McPhillips entered the woodshed and emerged fearless.
A very personal recording, My Shining Hour is constructed around songs McPhillips associates with and dedicates to those who are important to her. McPhillips honors her father with an Duke Ellington
medley of "I Don't Miss You/Solitude" followed by a second Ellington set "Azure/Azur-et." These couplings boast a genius that can only be credited to the inspiration of love. The set employs the best wares of pianist Denny Berthiaume, clarinetist Kristen Strom, and the nylon-stringed guitars of Eddie Duran
and Scott Sorkin.
McPhillips has bebop stripes also. Charlie Parker
's "Au Privave" provides McPhillips a vehicle in which she can test her scatting skills embellished tastefully with some Lil' Wayne electronics. McPhillips uses a chorus effect to broaden and deepen her presence. She wisely does not overuse the effects. It makes for an exciting change of pace from the routine jazz vocals outing. Following the heat of "Au Privave" is a sassy-languid "You're Blase," driven by Sorkin's electric guitar and Mad Duran's questioning flute.
True musical treasures are only found through judicious and patient listening. The technological expansion of the last 20 years has made it possible for artists of the exceptional ilk of McPhillips to find a reasonable outlet for their talents. The title song has no dedication, therefore it is dedicated to McPhillips herself and has been a long time coming.
Personnel: Lin McPhillips: vocals; Denny Berthiaume: keyboards; Eddie Duran and
Scott Sorkin: guitar; Kristen Strom, Mad Duran: reeds, flute; Rick
Girard: bass; Michaelle Goerlitz: percussion; Akira Tara: drums; John
Worley: trumpet, flugelhorn.