Vanessa Rubin has never received the attention that Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, or Diana Krall have, despite being regularly lauded by many of the wise old instrumental heads in jazz. Here she embraces classic material, the likes of "Love for Sale," "I Didn't Know About You," "If I Should Lose You," "Everytime We Say Goodbye," and "The Summer Knows" among the 11 tracks. Her good company this time out includes pianist George Colligan, bassist Richie Goods, drummer Dwayne "Cook" Broadnax, and special guests Billy Higgins on drums, Freddy Cole on vocals, and Henry Johnson on guitar. Rubin and company freshen up the familiars with clever arrangements and melodious playing. Clearly more comfortable in this environment than in the R&B crossover realm that's intrigued her in the 1990s, Rubin has a jazzy lilt back in her voice. Of special note is her unusual treatment of the classic "Corcovado," taken at a languid tempo that allows the lyrics to breathe, bringing a new level of aching, longing pathos to Antonio Carlos Jobim's exquisite tune, perhaps a nod to Rubin's slow-singing Cleveland homeboy Jimmy Scott. Throughout the record, pianist Colligan's role is a key, his accompaniment doing more to increase Rubin's sense of challenge than merely making things comfortable. --Willard Jenkins
"For me, it's about the magic, and magic comes in so many different shapes and forms," says vocalist Vanessa Rubin about her new CD, Language of Love. "It's not just scatting and improvising. It's not a formula." As if to prove her point, Rubin tackles a variety of styles on her new CD, singing standards like "Love for Sale" and more unusual songs such as "The Way You Make Me Feel," a tune made famous by Michael Jackson.
--- JAZZIZ Magazine Copyright © 2000, Milor Entertainment, Inc. -- From Jazziz