℗ © 2013 2xHD
Holly Cole, vocals
Aaron Davis, Piano
David Piltch, String Bass
Holly Cole ignites the unspoken. Whether singing in the Yukon or New York City, she breathes the fresh air of irony through the smoky, dimly-lit longing for intimacy – traditionally a dangerous haven for a woman’s smouldering soul.
Working here with producer Peter Moore, she preserves the quintessence of her live performances. Inspired by fifties photos of Billie Holiday, Peter choreographs musicians around a single mike, letting “biofeedback”: and the acoustics of the space do the rest: live off the floor. The revival of this unique recording process takes risks unheard of in these technology-laden times.
The result? A trio perfectly attuned to each other and every nuance of their music. As they explore jazz, country, pop and R&B, somehow the customary meanings in these forms are transformed by a contemporary sensibility – nostalgia has no place on this musical map. Note how Holly fathoms the emotional depth charges of "My Foolish Heart" – with just the hint of a smile surfacing in the refrain. If you’ve seen her sing you know she addresses "Girl Talk" to the women in her audience with a smirk no one could misinterpret. Here, David and Aaron accompany her like bemused eavesdroppers – as her formidable voice slides deliberately under the door and then throws it open wide to greet them with wry amusement. On stage, Holly introduces "Talk to Me Baby" with “Here’s a love song – it’s about lies and pity." Aaron’s champagne glass rubato is a beautiful toast to the cupidity of the heart that only ever hears what it wants.
But Holly’s no supersaturated cynic. David’s percussive imagination sparks the Maritimes exuberance she lets fly through the joyous tune "Cruisin’". (She slips back into a down-east accent as easy and salty as John Johnson’s sax). And the solicitude each syllable of "I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry" receives is her way of bringing the natural empathy of country music to an audience well-versed in “sophistication”. Guest trumpeter John MacLeod sketches the plains – those miles we live in no matter where we are.
Holly’s taste for intriguing lyrics as well as the sonorous range of her timbre is much in evidence on the remaining songs in this collection – from the exquisitely world weary "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" to "Melancholy Baby’s" mingling of vaudeville and vulnerability. Her duet with Dave on "My Baby Just Cares For Me" is a joust – but all in jest. In case you don’t get the gist of "How Long Has This Been Going On", I’ll quote Holly once more: “It’s about prostitution”. The recording ends with a compassionate interpretation of "Downtown" – a song Holly finds touchingly naive.
The city, like a lover, only makes promises it intends to shatter, but Holly Cole provides place and rejuvenation for even its most jaded inhabitants.
2xHD Mastering Process:
Mastered from the original 96kHz/24Bits files by Rene Laflamme and Andre Perry at Fidelio Technologies’ mastering lab, using the 2xHD process. A SSD drive power by battery with a modified high-end dCS Vivaldi clock with silver and gold cables was used to create a very transparent sound.