"Girl Talk looks at life, love and other matters of the heart from my distinctly female perspective." —Vanessa Rubin
Girls do talk! And when they do, the conversation often relates to concerns about love and life. The obligations and expectations associated with giving and receiving love evolve persistently as one matures through experience and growth. "I wouldn't have picked these songs five years ago," says Vanessa in her liner notes. "These songs become real when you have lived them."
Joining Vanessa on Girl Talk is a team of stellar sidemen, including pianists Cedar Walton and Larry Willis, bassist David Williams (who penned "Won't Have to Say Goodbye") and drummer Lewis Nash. Also on hand to add brass and sass to seven of the album's 1twelve tracks are tenor saxophonists Eric Alexander and Javon Jackson, and trombonist Steve Davis. Veteran vocalist Etta Jones, Vanessa's longtime mentor and a girl talker from back in the day, makes guest appearances on two tracks—an easygoing and improvisational rendition of George and Ira Gershwin's "But Not for Me" and the bluesy "Baby, Ain't I Good to You."
Other tracks include a jazzy take on "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," a familiar piece whose lyrics transcend its Broadway origins in Fiddler on the Roof, and a smoky, poignant rendition of the Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer classic, "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)." The years of experience are evident in the music, as Vanessa expertly navigates a wide spectrum of human emotions—from the gentle yearning of Stephen Sondheim's "Loving You" to the slow-grooving and amusing title track, penned by Neil Hefti and Bobby Troup. But there's more to Girl Talk than standards. Vanessa unveils two new compositions—bassist David Williams' syncopated "Won't Have to Say Goodbye," and Vanessa's own composition, the brief but emotionally drenched ballad "If You Ever Go Away."
Vanessa was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, by parents of Trinidadian and Louisianan descent, and she began her singing career there. She moved to New York in 1982, after earning a degree from the Ohio State University School of Journalism, to pursue her singing career. After arriving in New York, she studied and performed with jazz legends such as Barry Harris, Frank Foster and Lionel Hampton. She also worked as an English teacher and Dean of Students with The New York Board of Education. Dubbed as one of the "Diva Nouvelles" by Essence magazine, Vanessa continues to meet challenges and opportunities presented by today's jazz scene.
An extraordinary jazz vocalist and conscientious musician, Vanessa continues to build her illustrious recording and performance career. To her credit are five releases on the BMG label, three of which reached number one on the Gavin jazz chart. Her hectic itinerary has included performances at renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Cairo Opera House, appearances at international jazz festivals in Thailand and Singapore, and tours of Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. She views her expanded role as a clinician as a unique opportunity to educate and build new audiences for jazz.
Vanessa's approach to the music involves a strong and personal interpretation of the lyrics in a song, yet she approaches a song as would an instrumentalist. "I like to leave space in the music—let it breath while I weave in and out of places, because the music tells the story as much as the lyrics."
Vanessa's second Telarc album, Girl Talk, exemplifies her development and depth as an artist who is contributing to and carrying on the jazz vocal tradition in her own style.
Her previous Telarc release, Language of Love, (CD-83465), included duets with Freddy Cole. The album was produced by bassist extraordinaire John Clayton. Listen to Vanessa Rubin's Girl Talk. You'll dig what she has to say.