CD: May I Come In?
Review by Adam Greenberg
On her debut recording, Gail Pettis shows off a nice sensitivity to her music. The songs, a mix of standards, originals, and lost classics, are given a touching respect. Maybe more importantly though, Pettis is singing along with the band, as opposed to singing in front of a backing group. The piano (alternately played by Randy Halberstadt and Darin Clendenin) comes out front nearly as often as Pettis does, and when the time is right other instruments come to join it (in particular, Marco de Carvalho’s guitar on the classic “Desafinado”). Pettis has a nice quality to her vocals that goes along with those sensitivities as well. Her tone is more relaxed than that of many singers, with a natural touch to it. The songs sound like they’re simply part of her day, not overpracticed or overdone. There’s interplay between her vocals and each instrument individually (even a bit of a duet with the bass in “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face”). This has the feel of catching an underappreciated songstress at a small club — the romantic ideal of the jazz hole-in-the-wall. There’s passion in her singing, and the execution is excellent on the part of Pettis as well as her two trios. Definitely worth a spin.