Antoinette Montague, Behind the Smile
Review By: Jeff Becker
Vocalist Antoinette Montague explores a 13 song collection of songs that all thematically embrace the concept of a smile and the story behind it.
A native of Newark, New Jersey, Montague has performed at a variety of venues, including Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazzmobile's Summer Breeze concert series and the Zebra Room in Harlem's Lenox Lounge. Accompanying her on this effort are woodwind player Bill Easley, pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington.
So let us explore the title rack from her latest CD Behind the Smile.
"Behind the Smile," penned by Montague with musical notation by Bertha Hope, is a blues-flavored selection as many of the cuts on this release are. Saxophonist Bill Easley lays down a solid solo followed by Miller—who follows with a solo only Mulgrew Miller can deliver. The lyrics "I love your style; you stole my heart," Montague sings, with a weathered horn like sound, my only complaint is she doesn’t quite dig down deep for the low notes, though he blue notes create interest her lack of reaching completely to the bottom is what you desire to hear in a jazz/blues cut.
Now in her defense the lineup she has assembled is top notch, which can at times bare the indiscretions on tape with a blaring light. Another recent recording that demonstrates my point is the recent recording put out by
saxophonist Paul Carr on his own label. His CD, Straight Ahead Soul, features guitarist Bobby Broom, pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Michael Bowie and drummer Lewis Nash, which completely over shadows Carr as a player, exposing his rhythmic issues.
Behind the SmileTrack listing: Behind the Smile; I Hadn't Anyone Till You; Give Your Mama One Smile; Ever Since the One I Love's Been Gone; What's Going On; The Song Is You; I'd Rather Have a Memory Than a Dream; Lost in Meditation; Get Ready; Summer Song; Somewhere in the Night; Meet Me at No Special Place; 23rd Psalm.
Behind the Smile Personnel: Antoinette Montague: vocals; Bill Easley: saxophone, flute, clarinet; Mulgrew Miller: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Kenny Washington: drums.