Singers. Jazz singers. There are so many today. Susan Krebs is one. As the Susan Krebs Band, she has an album called Everything Must Change (GreenGig 031). I've been spinning it on my player. I report back to you, my readers.
Susan fronts a band that plays modern, sensitively wrought jazz. Chuck Manning on soprano/tenor and Rich Eames at the piano do much to give Susan a "real jazz" cushioning, but the rhythm section does that too.
They've picked good vehicles. "Up Jumped Spring," the Hubbard classic with Abbey Lincoln's lyrics, sounds carefully phrased and articulated by Ms. Krebs and as the leadoff number it defines her thing: nuance, clean phrasing, pitch control and drama.
From there we get a bunch of great songs, done well for the most part. "What is This Thing Called Love," "A Flower is a Lonesome Thing,""Everything Must Change," and on from there.
Ms. Krebs doesn't strain to get the jazz effect. She lays back and lets her musicality pull her through. The Weil-Anderson "Lost in the Stars" is the only song I don't feel she quite pulls off. And no wonder. It's one of the saddest songs ever written. The feeling of being abandon by God in the Universe (especially after WWII) is not something that is easy to put across. It needs a pathos that Susan does not entirely project. Many others have failed before her, have not quite managed to combine the pathos with a loose jazz approach. So she is in good company.
In the end Susan Krebs is a superior instrument and the album brings it out very well. She has a beautifully cultivated vocal style and a distinctive voice. Yeah!