If you like it straight-ahead, then you'll enjoy Underwood Uncurling. Jazz singer Belinda Underwood has an innate lyrical sense with intonation that is second to none. Released on the Cosmik Muse label, this is an artistic record that goes above and beyond. Check out Underwood Uncurling. She's unbelievable!

Half of the songs performed on this project showcase original compositions by Underwood and not only do her songwriting skills show maturity, they reveal a social conscience as well. The title track, Uncurling, is a very pleasing number featuring this songstress' pure vocals, as well as a gorgeous piano solo by Clay Giberson and rounding out the ensemble with the perfect balance of drum/bass lines are Martin Zarzar and Phil Baker respectively. While the ballad Trees features the same musicians, it holds a more mysterious feeling. Then showing an even more reflective side is one of my fav songs, World Peace Blues. Underwood's impressive scatting is complemented beautifully by the collective improvisation of tenor saxophonist John Gross, bassist David Friesen and Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira. An added surprise to the disc is Underwood's acoustic bass and baritone ukulele performances and she includes them on the melancholic, Say My Name.

Her interpretation of the Mel Torme song, Born to Be Blue is so natural it seems like she was born to sing it and Irving Berlin's, How Deep Is The Ocean is guaranteed to have your fingers poppin' and your toes tappin'. This upbeat number features some outstanding piano (Chad Wagner) and acoustic bass work (Underwood). While the Chick Corea track, You're Everything, is a fine example of musicians communicating in song and letting each other shine. Then closing out the set with just vocals and acoustic bass is the endearing, There Will Never Be Another You.

There's an underlying vibe of peace and understanding that permeates Underwood Uncurling. A refreshing and artistic offering, she sings of human experiences and desires, of love lost and love found. And I loved every minute of it!

For more info on Belinda Underwood, please visit her website at www.belindaunderwood.com.

- D.J. Fazio, thejazznation.com March 2005



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