Sensuous, sleek and gorgeous, Nicole Henry commands the stage with her physical presence. Then she starts to sing and the package is complete. Blessed with a wonderful instrument, Henry can shift easily from pop to soul to swing, backed by some marvelous jazz arrangements that support her new hybrid sound. Opening with the Ellington/George/Hodges/James swing “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” Henry then switched to a strong soul-influenced showstopper on a slowed down rendition of Buddy Johnson’s “Since I Fell for You.” A cha cha on the Dinah Washington hit “Relax Max” and a sensational version of the Sarah Vaughan recorded “That’s All,” illustrate the new multi-influence jazz sound Henry and other young artists are developing. It very evident with her take on Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s “Just a Little Lovin.” Henry adds a lot of soul to the hit, falling somewhere between the notable versions by jazz great Carmen McCrae and blue-eyed soul/pop sister Dusty Springfield. Henry is navigating new territory with her style and with her incredible voice and intelligence. The sky’s the limit!
August 29, 2012