Joyce Randolph, vocals; Bill Bell, piano; Jeff Chambers, bass
This is an album of duets and trios, sparse in outlay but rich in content; the opening track "Just a Little Blue" is the only one written by Joyce and is a duet with pianist Bill Bell. Like all the tracks, there is a noticeable sense of spatial freedom and Joyce sings it with an emotive touch steeped in poignancy. "What a Difference a Day Makes" is the first track sung with just the bass as partner; an interesting and pleasant duet; Joyce always places her words with consummate care and perfect clarity. "Solitude", another duet with the bass (we are getting used to it by now), is wonderfully spare and a moving way to treat this Ellington classic. "Sophisticated Lady", accompanied by the splendid Bill Bell, is sung from the heart with immense feeling. Charlie Mingus's "O.P." is a bass and piano duet and these two excellent musicians never overstate. Bill struts with balance and poise while Jeff hums like a bee. The album is closed with "Precious Lord, Take My Hand", this is quite obviously prayerful, exultant and deeply moving; a fine end to a fine CD.
by Ferdinand Maylin