Friday, March 12, 2010

CD Review: All In Time

Claudette Miller

All In Time

(C Miller Music, 2007)

By Steve "Fly" Klein, Chicago Blues News

Claudette Miller's CD All In Time recently came across my desk. While this CD was recorded a few years ago, I thought I would jot down my thoughts anyway.

Claudette Miller has the energy for classic Chicago blues and the range to handle other songs in her repertoire like jazz and R&B. Her band on this CD consists of Bob Murphy on keys, who also engineered and produced, Albert Johnson on guitar, Tenry Johns on bass, and Terry Mason on the drums. Also appearing is drummer Jammin Jr.

The first thing that hits you is Claudette's powerful voice. On her "Pillow Full of Tears", Claudette stands up for herself to her man. Her voice and Murphy's keyboard work really sell the song.

"Big Fat Daddy" is a sassy tune that Ms. Miller handles well. The band does some background singing that adds to the fun.

The CD makes a turn with a jazz rendition of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine". An interesting arrangement that, while Claudette sings well, I feel guitarist Albert Johnson struggles pulling off his part.

Bob Murphy's synth-horns are featured on the gospel tinged blues "I Know Your Kind". Claudette shows her roots the way she handles the vocals. Sweet.

The soulful "Highway Man" tells of a woman and a handsome, but wandering, highway man. Again, the fine keyboard work of Bob Murphy adds much to this number.

"You're Leaving Me" is an R&B inspired song that gives Ms. Miller a chance to stretch out her vocals a bit. The rhythm section really lays down a tight and funky groove on this one.

The B.B. King classic "Rock Me Baby" is slowed down a bit and it churns and grinds with a smoky vocal by Claudette. Listen for the great clavinet work by Murphy.

The CD ends with another Miller original where she really shines, "Can't Find My Man". A classic blues number that intersects a traditional rhythm section with techno synthesizers. While I thought the musical bed was not entirely successful, Claudette's vocal stands out over any distraction.

Claudette Miller continues to sing in clubs around Chicago and her ability to sing and write is a powerful combination. She has the pipes to belt out a song like "Pillow Full of Tears" and the talent to lay down crushed velvet with material like "Highway Man" and "You're Leaving Me". However, I think her abilities could be showcased better if she were backed by a traditional blues band with a full horn section.

I look forward to hearing more from Claudette Miller.