The Buffalo News
Jay Clayton with Jack Wilkins and Jay Anderson
In and Out of Love
Three and a half stars
She considers herself an avant-garde jazz singer (“kind of an outdated term, but it works,” she says matter-of-factly in the disc notes). But then so does everyone else. That will happen when you’ve spent as many years as Jay Clayton singing with people like Sam Rivers and Muhal Richard Abrams.
So why then is this probably the most delicious mainstream jazz vocal recording of the year thus far? It’s nothing but a pro-gram of classic jazz compositions (a scat on Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance,” John Carisi’s “Israel,” Kenny Barron’s “Sunshower”) mixed with the hoariest of standards (“Falling in Love With Love,” “How Deep is the Ocean”) and performed by a trio of Clayton’s voice, Jay Anderson’s bass and Jack Wilkin’s guitar.
Wilkins, alone, is one of the most feloniously underrecorded guitarists in jazz and has been for the past 30 years. But when you hear his interaction with Clayton and Anderson, you’re hearing a jazz vocal record that has been created just for the untrammelled musicianly joy of doing it and for no other reasons whatsoever.
“I love the jazz standards and have never and will never stop performing them” is her credo. And when you’re performing things like “My One and Only Love,” with its mind-boggling pedigree of John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman and Ben Webster/Art Tatum, why on earth would anyone stop performing them?
On this turf, she is about as far indeed as you can get from singing anything that would bruise anyone’s ears. At 68, her throaty voice bears a gorgeous resemblance to some other ultra-veteran female jazz singers (most notably Nancy King, who’s a year older).
Expect nothing even remotely earth-moving here, just three consummately professional musicians performing music they love in the most intimate possible circumstances — “unplugged” in every spiritual way, if not exactly in reality.(Wilkins, after all, is an electric guitarist.)
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Review- Jay Clayton. "In and Out Of Love"