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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jodi Beach Trio

In Other Words

Review by Lisa Palmeno

The Jodi Beach Trio released In Other Words in 2004. The CD features classically-trained vocalist and pianist Jodi Beach along with Drummer Thom Fishe and Jim McDowell on acoustic bass and classical guitar. The band had the cover and accompanying photos taken at the palatial Coronado Theatre located in historic downtown Rockford, IL, emphasizing the classy ambience the Trio offers their local audiences.

A traditional compilation of blues, jazz and standards, In Other Words serves as a nice sampler of early American music forms. The deliveries are subtly energetic and pleasingly authentic. From the swing to the bling, In Other Words is a superb showcase of Beach’s ultra feminine voice and versatility on the ivories.

Rounding out the roster of guest musicians are Tito Cevallos (percussion, congas), Saxophonist Mark Colby; Clarinetist Ken Stein; Trumpeter Manny Lopez; and Trombonist Cary Sheley. The recording has a dance hall sound, with a high ceiling and plenty of acoustics, which recreates the feeling of a live, intimate club performance.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Route 66
Beach opens the album with vibrant vibrato on this bluesy, jazzy standard. The Trio’s quality cover is very bright and party-friendly.
Beach’s vocal phrasing is supported by the mysterious mood of the congas and a deep-in-the-dog-house and stuck-in-the-groove performance by Fishe. The long conga and drum duet is featured at the end of this track, just before the band joins back in, gains tempo, and Beach finishes with a drawn out last phrase on “desert caravan.”
Don't Get Around Much Anymore
Light and airy, this nightclub classic is easily carried off by Beach and her boys. Beach sounds cheerful and delightful.
The Shadow of Your Smile
Perfect for couples dancing, “The Shadow of Your Smile” features more of the bandleader’s jazzy piano style. The group stays tight on this moderate melody.
The Nearness of You
More breathy and contemplative, “The Nearness of You” slows the tempo down to a crawl. This is a great one to listen to while taking a bubble bath and drinking wine.
Basin Street Blues
The superb horn section is true to this classic composed by Spencer Williams and popularized by Louis Armstrong. This is the feature of the album.
Nature Boy
The Trio re-enacts the strange and eerie feel of Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy,” originally recorded by Nat King Cole. A strong sense of timing and dynamics pulls this song through to a darkly expressive ending.
Scrapple From the Apple
Beach opens with Ella Fitzgerald-style vocals, wee wee doo bee beeping through this Charlie Parker piece. With plenty of sparkle and bling bling in her pipes, the songstress is a convincing protégé.
When Sunny Gets Blue
One can almost hear the rain falling from the very beginning this weepy depiction of how Sunny got her name but changed.
Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)
Obviously the inspiration for the title of the album, Beach carves out her signature style in this most standard of all standards. The easy romance of early courtship put forth in Sinatra’s hit suits the vocalist well. 
Up Downtown
The only instrumental on the CD, McDowell’s “Up Downtown” exhibits the mod jazzy feeling of early movies of the 1960s. The horns meet up again in this tune to discuss an urban theme.
One Note Samba
Fishe’s bass stretches and tugs at the only note needed for this simple-but-robust sip of samba.
It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
Hip and happenin’, this is another feature of the album.
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