New Jazz: Maria Jacobs — ‘Back at the Bop Stop’

A good live album can provide that oh so difficult to achieve feeling of being in the room, encircled by swirling, gliding notes, full of life and spontaneity. Jazz artists Maria Jacobs’s new album, Back At The Bop Stop, accomplishes it from the first inviting drum kick-off of the Freddie Hubbard / Abbey Lincoln waltz “Up Jumped Spring.” From then on, the listener is positioned in a space of superb creativity, with the possibility of imperfection just around each corner of Cleveland’s Bop Stop. What a refreshing and satisfying experience. The collection of twelve tracks (10 live, 2 studio) offers an exciting range of material, allowing Maria Jacobs to prove that she can apparently sing it all, sublimely and effortlessly.

One highlight (of many) is “Moody’s Mood For Love” — a vocalist’s opportunity to prove worthy of being called a vocalese specialist. The song is derived from an improvised solo by saxophonist James Moody on a 1949 recording of “I’m in the Mood For Love.” Maria Jacobs sends out Eddie Jefferson’s lyrics as if she were writing a profound, unedited Valentine. Six minutes and twelve seconds have never sailed by so breezily. For the full effect, do as I did — hit repeat.

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