PRAISEfor Sue Matthews
Sue Matthews is a bona fide jazz singer. Her phrasing is a dream. Her articulation is razor-sharp. And she’s blessed with a wonderfully supple instrument. All these attributes, and more, are neatly showcased in Love Dances (Sir Records), an outing elevated even higher by the tender, loving (yet energized) support of pianist Stefan Scaggiari, bassist Keter Betts, drummer Mike Smith, and guitarist Steve Abshire. And as Matthews pours her soul into standards such as “I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues” and “How Long Has This Been Going On?,” it’s indelibly clear why she’s one of the Nation’s Capital’s top jazz divas. Also impressive is Matthews’ ability to bounce with breezy abandon as in her romp through the Cole Porter classic, “Easy To Love,” a title whose reflexive resonance in this case turns back to Matthews herself – a singer whose impressive gifts and persona are, indeed, “easy to love!”Chuck Berg
It’s a pleasure to listen to a jazz singer who avoids exaggerated vocalizations. Sue Matthews dispatched those standards with a breezy, straightforward competency. On “I Want To Be Happy” she scats effectively and she shines on the swinging “Someone To Light Up My Life.” She can be sultry, too. Pianist Stefan Scaggiari, co-producer and arranger, adds luster with his understated style.Marcela Breton
“One at a Time”
Sue Matthews is a jazz vocalist with class, and a great sweet style that will attract a large listening audience. Matthews’ articulation and phrasing is as perfect and clear as they come, and she sings with a refreshing honestly that makes the lyrics come alive with emotion.
Matthews’ delivery is intimate, flawless, and smooth. We prefer the tracks that gravitate toward interpretation and a suave cabaret feel. Cole Porter’s “Easy To Love,” the title cut, and “Make Me Rainbows” are elegantly spare. Matthews’ vocals smolder with dynamics and technical precision – even under the most minimal musical accompaniment. Just check out her stark treatment of “My Funny Valentine.” She literally puts her singing talents on the line.Kent Zimmerman
This is the third solo album by this very good singer. She has a clear, rounded vocal sound that she uses in a fluid and moving manner on an a capella version of the folk-ish Caledonia, while finding an appropriately rugged sound on the rousing “Wild Women Don’t Have The Blues.” She slips into a slow but irresistible groove on a seriously swinging “Rocks In My Bed,” and is eloquently appealing on the ballads, such as “My Romance” and “On My Way To You.” The accompaniment is instrumentally varied and always of the highest quality, gently supportive of the singer and dotting the proceedings are some nicely taken solo spots by Scaggiari and both guitarists. Overall, though, I think that it is the well chosen repertoire, allied as it is to the singer’s unerring ability to find exactly the right approach to each song, and then to deliver it meaningfully, that marks her out as someone with a real chance to make a big impression on the overcrowded and highly competitive world of the female jazz singer. Not only is her next offering to be awaited eagerly, but I for one will also be seeking out the previous pair of CDs, Love Dances and When You’re Around. The liner provides only personnel and titles; no background on the singer. Very good sound. Very warmly recommended.Bruce Crowthier