****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Shamie Royston: Portraits

So, sue me. Sue me.  What can you do me?

I confess! Mea culpa! I took one look at this cover of Shamie Royston, contemplatively looking through a curtain and thought “another singer of the Great American Songbook and best, and maybe a tacky R&B chanteuse.” Just can’t judge a book by it’s jacket!!!

This lady plays the piano like something out of the Art Blakey school of bop; she swings with an authority here! She’s in a trio setting with Rudy Royston/dr and Ivan Taylor/b, and mostly sticks to assertive modern material that evokes images of the complexity of Geri Allen and the percussive precision of a Horace Silver. In fact, Silver’s own “Summer in Central Park” is here in a graceful take, but what’s going to win you over are her snapping and intricate interplay with the boys on “Inner Strength” and the assertive “Ascension.” Both of these have Ms Royston just slightly holding back the ferver while Rudy drives the horses with a whip, and the contrast of moods is deliciously addictive. She performs a solo tune on “Healing Hymn” which shows her allegiance to God and the church, which may explain why her music is so filled with soul and passion.

If you think there are no new and exciting artists these days, do yourself a favor and get this one. It’s a honey!


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