June 2006

Natasha Miller - Don’t Move
Poignant PR 0004
Format: CD
Released: 2006

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

Bobby Sharp - The Fantasy Sessions
Poignant PR0005
Format: CD
Released: 2006

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

by Katherine Silkaitis

Eighty-one-year-old Bobby Sharp had one hit in his career, Ray Charles’ and Joe Cocker’s "Unchain My Heart," which Sharp sold for $50 to get a quick hit of some drugs. Natasha Miller, in her early 30s, is a San Francisco Bay-area jazz vocalist who was being interviewed on a local radio station when Sharp heard her, liked what he heard and called her up. The two ended up collaborating, resulting in Miller’s 2004 release I Had a Feelin’ and now an additional collection of Sharp tunes, Don’t Move, out on Miller’s label, Poignant Records. Sharp has also released a solo album of his own -- his debut, The Fantasy Sessions -- also out on Poignant.

Don’t Move is a collection of 11 rarely or never-heard Sharp tunes. While Miller has a nice voice that's a little overdone at times, the songs are the highlight of the album. An energetic octogenarian, Sharp writes solid tunes that feature full and layered arrangements. "Snow Covers the Valley," along with most of the songs on the album, is poised to become an oft-covered classic with its Billie Holiday-esque lyrics and classy muted trumpets.

The Fantasy Sessions is evocative in the purest sense of the word. Sharp has a beautiful voice, worn, wise and smooth, and his piano playing is near perfect. The disc features 11 original tunes, all of which have a timeless quality that evokes the aura of 1940s jazz and cabaret clubs. Most of the songs are slow and almost melancholy, with the album opener "High Upon a Mountain," "Daddy Romeo," and "Bobby’s Bounce" notable exceptions.