Everything Must Change
, the newest recording from Susan and her longtime collaborators, Rich Eames and Jerry Kalaf, is a departure from their enthusiastically received JazzAviary
concept recording (2007). Joined by the deeply simpatico Ryan McGillicuddy and Chuck Manning, the Susan Krebs Band made music together one recent summer and had some serious fun! The collaborative nature of the project can be heard throughout the recording; there is an immediacy and an intimacy which reflect the spirited sessions which make up the album. The final track, "Are Ya Havin' Any Fun?" leaves no doubt about the grand summer these folks had: "It's our feel-good single for challenging and changing times!", offers Susan. Everything Must Change
is an opportunity to hear Krebs in a small ensemble setting, delightfully organic, fully interactive, focused and engaged. Her vocal delivery is spot on, and invokes the modern jazz language with masterful control, truly a journey worth exploring, that offers an uplifting outcome.
From Baltimore to Los Angeles, as an actor or singer, Susan Krebs - the self-professed "jazz gardener" - likes to dig, cultivate, grow, and flourish. Krebs' music wraps itself around the listener like a big hug. How can one not enjoy the whole grain, organic pleasure of jazz classics about spring, love, flowers, and stars? These are eight tunes that clearly provide considerable meaning, direction, and personal reflection for Krebs. They're the kind of songs that allow for plaintive, soothing contemplation. Whether a Cole Porter classic ("What Is This Thing Called Love?") or Billy Strayhorn tune ("A Flower is a Lovesome Thing"), the songs don't rush things. The creative, four-to-six minute arrangements allow for warm, expressive conversations between the vocalist and instrumentalists. Krebs' earthy vocal presence is surrounded by the intimacy of her longtime collaborators, Rich Eames (piano) and Jerry Kalaf (drums). Together, they co-produced this project like their last - the enthusiastically received Jazz Aviary (2007). Ryan McGillicuddy (bass) and Chuck Manning (saxophones) round out the quintet for this current project. The closing feel-good single, "Are Ya Havin' Any Fun?" also taps Scott Breadman (percussion), Steve Huffsteter (trumpet), and Riner Scivally (guitar) for a carefully cultivated full combo sound. In her interpretive cover of Bernard Ighner's "Everything Must Change" (featuring Chuck Manning's fine sax work), Krebs proclaims in song: "Rain comes from the clouds/Sun lights up the sky/And music...Sweet music/Oh music makes me cry." Thus, Krebs displays her love of good songs, as well as the emotional and symbiotic relationship that she intimately has with them. Throughout the entire set she exudes confidence, delivering the musical goods in a sturdy, self-assured, affable manner. She's a sincere singer whose ballads and sense of swing remind me of Shirley Horn. At the same time, think Sheila Jordan for the witty interpretation that Krebs and company provide in the joyously refreshing closing number. --Joe Ross: BlogCritics.org
Krebs has the latitude to make the music she wants to make and add her own special sauce as and when needed. Here we have an intimate, gutsy jazz vocal date where she isn t afraid not to hold back an emotion. Making it seem like she s doing what comes naturally, her latest is a side step away from her past outings and she once again shows that she can handle any facet of jazz singing. --Chris Spector: Midwest Record
Refreshing...A wonderfully eclectic release with an N.P.R vibe and a warm rich sound that works hand in glove with her vocals. A somewhat personal release which reflects upon some favorites of Krebs and the current social-political climate we live in today. Normally when an artist begins mixing social commentary with their music and especially jazz then my attention span and tolerance level are equivalent to the interest I have in an Obama press conference. The release works because it does not push a message but instead shines the spotlight on the music which Krebs delivers with a refreshing honesty and clearly shows her comfort zone as an artist. Working with long time collaborators Rich Eames and Jerry Kalaf has a subtle chemistry that brings the music and vocals together in a nice working band setting. The joy of making music is nice. The joy of making good music is Susan Krebs. Everything Must Change opens with a spot on version of the Freddie/Hubbard/Abbey Lincoln tune "Up Jumped Spring." The Cole Porter classic "What Is This Thing Called Love" along with the Billy Strayhorn tune "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing" showcase Krebs unique ability to reinvent a timeless standard without disrespecting the original or herself and this is the true sign of an artist. An intimate all most live studio sound seems to permeate this recording giving new meaning to the often tired critical term "organic." Having shifted a career away from stage, screen and television it would appear Krebs has made the correct career decision with pursuing singing as her vocation of choice. In her press release Krebs describes her musical odyssey as "the art of becoming" and given the 24/7 learning curve that is life she seems to be an artist blessed with a clear focus and understanding of how to best develop her talents. Krebs closes the release with her feel good single "Are Ya Havin' Any Fun?" which she describes as her feel good single for challenging times. As a jazz vocalist Susan Krebs offers a nice vacation from the trials and tribulation of everyday life and Everything Must Change is well worth the trip! --Brent Black: CriticalJazz.com