Next Year’s Song
When a jazz vocalist gets an endorsement from Sheila Jordan and when that same singer gathers a first-rate group of accompanists, all bandleaders themselves, you know that the recording is bound to be special. Such is the case for CeCe Gable, a late bloomer with a youthful sounding voice, delivers a quiet, romantic, honest, impeccably classy recording with Next Year’s Song, produced by bassist Harvie S., who leads a backing quartet of pianist Alan Broadbent, guitarist Roni Ben-Hur, and drummer Matt Wilson. Harvie S. is the arranger on this mix of mostly standards except for the opening title track, which is a co-write with Gable, setting an optimistic tone as we emerge from the pandemic with this lyric – “Next year’s song brings us peace and harmony/Lighting up the days ahead/When we see where we’ve been/And how to begin to live like we know the score.” The tune has exceptional pizzicato bass work from the co-writer and the consistently elegant and tasteful piano from Broadbent.
“No Moon At All” swings as Gable bounces along to terrific work from the quartet, especially from Ben-Hur and Wilson. Following the mid-section brimming guitar and piano break, Gables returns with more energy, clearly enjoying herself and bandmates. Gables delves into her romantic side on “Two for the Road,” featuring another lyrical spot from Harvie S. Tempo ratchets up for “Just One of Those Things” with all four rhythm instruments locked in, stepping aside to give Wilson his own crisp solo midway. The Brazilian strains of “Like a Lover (O Cantador)” prove fertile for Gable’s swaying vocal and Ben-Hur’s flowing guitar lines.
“I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life,” usually rendered as a ballad, gets the light swinging treatment here, another feature for Ben-Hur and Wilson backing Gable’s charming delivery of the sardonic lyrics. Gable steps away from these well-known ballads to embrace a couple of Broadbent’s compositions with lyrics from Georgia Mancio, first with “The Last Goodbye” and with the closer “From Me to You.” The former piano supported ballad has a warm feel of nostalgia while the latter reprises the sensual Brazilian tones with Ben-Hur again delivering his graceful backing.
Three other standards come between the two Broadbent tunes, beginning with Wilson’s snappy intro and Gables’ playful take on “My Romance,” which features both the bassist and drummer, followed by the piano ballad “Moments Like These” where Gables summons her best confessional tone. Capping off this trio is the venerable “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” another duo collaboration with Harvey S., who echoes her phrases while walking his bass, which by itself supplies more than ample rhythm.
Music does not get more elegant than this.