November 2008

Jacintha - Jacintha Goes to Hollywood
Groove Note GRV 1040-1
Format: LP
Released: 2007

by John Crossett

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

The audiophile's favorite female vocalist has moved from the jazz arena to wrap her voice around a set of tunes culled from the film world. Backed with the usual Groove Note cast of stalwart musicians, such as Darek Oles, Anthony Wilson, and Joe LaBarbera, Jacintha wends her way through such classics as "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," "Alfie," "California Dreaming," and "Que Sera Sera." While she handles this change in material confidently, she never quite gets the full grasp of these songs. Consider "Raindrops." The original, sung by B.J. Thomas, has a devil-may-care attitude that seems to thumb its nose at the rain. Jacintha’s version, on the other hand, has more of a "just go with it" feel. On "Que Sera Sera," Jacintha again seems to not be overly familiar with the true essence of the song, approaching it from an attitude of casual indifference. One listen to Holly Cole or Doris Day doing the same number shows an attitude more in line with the way the song's feel. It’s possible that Jacintha chose songs that are too closely associated with others for anything she does to stand out. There is nothing unpleasant about this album, other than it just doesn’t seem to stand up as well as Jacintha's previous efforts.

As is usual from Groove Note, the sound here is about as good as it gets. Cut at the now-common 45rpm audiophile standard, Jacintha Goes To Hollywood has an attention to detail that seems to elude most newly recorded material. Jacintha’s voice is fully formed, sounding as real as I’ve heard. She appears to be standing just slightly in front of the speaker plane, with the band spread out behind her. There’s plenty of space around both the singer and the band, allowing each to blossom fully. There is nothing sonically that will disappoint you about this LP.

Back to the music. I just wish Jacintha sounded more familiar with these songs, or at least had a perspective on them that came across as one she truly felt. I was let down after repeated listens; I could never quite muster up the feeling that any of the songs were really hers.