During the first set of the release party, Emilie-Claire did How High the Moon (Hamilton/Lewis, 1940), not Les Paul and Mary Fords arrangement, but Ella Fitzgeralds arrangement, and there it was: Emilie-Claires model for totally swinging free and completely naturalElla. To round off this little portrait of a style, while listening to Our Love is Here to Stay (Gershwin/Gershwin, 1938), I was struck by the intimacy of her stylings, and the work of Blossom Dearie came to mind. Feels right.
Her repertoire at all times includes a few numbers by Antonio Carlos Jobim. So Dança Samba is the most beautifully balanced number on the record, mixing vocal and accompaniment just so, integrating a seamlessly smooth solo by the great John Johnson on tenor sax, and allowing the two Mar(c)ks, Rogers and Kelso, to engage in some fine bass/drum conversations. Jobims gently swinging beat, samba or bossa nova, and sensuous Portuguese lyrics bring out several other of Ms. Barlows best sides: the fluty quality of her attack; her uncanny ability to improvise or scat in any language while fitting in with the band like another instrument. Speaking of her band, Emilie-Claire is lucky to have Rob Pilch with her on guitar making those clear glass tones sparkle around her like a cloud of sequins.
Like a Lover is a very successful step into a new maturity for this accomplished artist.