2011’s been a good year for albums from female soul and jazz singers. Even the most cursory of glances at our review pages will confirm this. What makes albums from ladies like newcomers Veronica Ferreiro, Dara Tucker, Nicci Canada, Tasha Taylor and old stagers like Maysa, Mary J Blige and the iconic Etta James so welcoming is their sense of adventure… the ladies’ determination to try something a little different – and this new 11 tracker from Yolanda Rabun has the same controlled, artistic audacity.
Thoroughly modern Yolanda is a real multi-tasker. A graduate of Atlanta’s famed Northside School Of The Arts, she’s worked with the late Isaac Hayes and opened for Jennifer Holiday. She also has a law degree from Boston College and when time permits she works as a corporate attorney. If that’s not enough she’s also an in-demand actor! Music though has always been her priority and jazz and soul her preferred genres. She possesses a warm, clear, engaging voice that’s outstanding on ballads like ‘I Will Be Loved Tonight’ and ‘My True Love’ (a hint of Anita Baker about that one, by the way) and it’s perfect for the gentle, almost Latin rhythms of the LP’s title cut. She takes flight on the builder that is ‘Only In Mind’ (a Sadao Watanabe tune, by the way) while on the album’s big cover (the audacious element we alluded to up top) Yolanda’s a revelation. The song in question here is Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’. Always a good song (well, with seven writer credits it should be!), Yolanda transforms the teen angst anthem into a mature, dramatic, bumpy ride with rock ballad overtones towards the end and it stands in stark contrast to what immediately follows – the superficially gentle, soporific and reflective ‘The Good Wife’.
Throughout the album, Yolanda’s supported by a superb live band (the keys from Chris Evans and Stanley Baird’s sax work are outstanding). There’s a real organic feel to proceedings and those who like their music mature and real should investigate @ www.yolandarabun.com