Thank you to Josef Woodard (Santa Barbara News-Press) for the kind words:
For those as-yet uninitiated into the world of Kristin Korb, listening to her new album “What’s Your Story?” may feed deceptive assumptions. One might admire the understated, limber vocal work and tasteful improvisational ventures beyond the tune itself, and the well-known and expectation-fulfilling attributes of guitarist Bruce Forman and drummer Jeff Hamilton. But wait, the inquiring, uninitiated mind wants to know, who’s that bassist? Yes, that would be Ms. Korb, the rare jazz bassist-vocalist who handles both tasks, concurrently, with aplomb and artistry. She inspires double-take effects that she may be weary of by now: this is what she does and who she is by now, after all. But the surprise factor may be gradually shifting, given the popularity and double-taking virtuosity of another jazz bass-voice wizard, Esperanza Spalding. For the right kind of multi-tasking talent, the mix can really sing.
On Monday night, Ms. Korb returns to SOhO for a show on the heels of her fine new album, released on her own aptly-named Double K label. Although she spent many years honing and developing in Los Angeles, studying and playing with Ray Brown after initial classical studies with Bertram Turetzky at UC San Diego, her travel planning is more complicated now, as she relocated to Denmark after marrying a Dane.
Joining her at the SOhO show is the cast from the new record, and what a cast: both Mr. Forman and Mr. Hamilton— part of the Clayton Hamilton Big Band power train and long a part of Ray Brown’s trio— are among the top West Coast-based jazz players. As heard on the new album, the trio works empathetically as an interactive unit, with a common goal in mind and a way of organically engaging in dialogue.
Although nobody would argue that the album is a fine example of solid, swinging mainstream jazz, refreshingly, the song choice on “What’s Your Story?” swerves around the usual suspects in the standards repertoire. As if in sly manipulation of the standards issue, the best-known “real book” standard here, “Green Dolphin Street,” arrives in our ears in the form of just her voice and bass, each task handled with expressive elan.
She does take on, as a kind of quasi-title theme and central musical question, “What’s Your Story Morning Glory,” in a slow, bluesy way. She waxes sultry and “Poinciana-” esque exotic on “Flamingo” and eases into up-tempo swing and tangle-tongued lyrics on “Them There Eyes,” with a guitar solo from Mr. Forman leading into a smooth-scatting Ms. Korb, and the brushes-wielding Mr. Hamilton.
In medium swing mode, she finds her sashaying, easy-does-it groove on Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Red Wagon,” and she gets artfully torchy on the balladic “Moments like This,” a short beauty of a track, backed only by Mr. Forman. Closing the song set in a moody midnight mood, the bassist-vocalist starts out “I Wanna Be Loved” by her not-so-lonesome lonesome, with guitar and drums easing into the sonic picture.
“What’s Your Story?” continues the story of a straight ahead double treat in jazz, from SoCal to Denmark and occasionally back again.