“A follow-up to 2006′s Black, Polish vocalist Beata Pater’s Blue is a collaboration with pianist-composer Mark Little. Opening with an energetic take on Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue” and closing with Miles Davis and Bill Evans’ “Blue in Green,” nine of the remaining tunes are credited to Pater and/or Little. Pater isn’t singing lyrics on these recordings, but rather scatting with clarity and precision on both melody lines and solos. Blue, while always hovering near a contemporary jazz ambiance, covers a great deal of stylistic ground.
Blue is a highly inventive album with a variety of moods and textures. The intro to Little’s “West Wind” roars out of the gate, recalling David Bowie’s “Young Americans” thanks to the beefy sax of Mikole Kaar. “Southbound Train” opens with a duet between Pater and bassist Jon Evans before Kaar joins them on clarinet. The trio cast a smoothly melodic spell. Composed as an emotional response to Michael Jackson’s memorial service, written by Pater and Little as they watched the telecast, “The Little Prince” is a mournful piano ballad. “Fly Strip,” another Pater/Little composition, kicks a solid groove with a bold, funky sax solo by Darius Babazadeh. Loaded with memorable hooks, it’s a very accessible album. James Scotch”