Polish vocalist/composer/violinist Beata Pater, as of late in San Francisco, releases Red, the third recording in her “colors” series following Black (B&B, 2006) and Blue (B&B, 2011). She specializes in the no-lyrics singing that is related to, but not exactly the same as scat singing. Much of this is present on Red where, an expressive and passionate singer, Pater draws every bit of creativity from her mezzo-soprano voice. Her capability is elastic like that of Betty Carter and Cheryl Bentyne, with the midrange guts of Sarah Vaughan.
Red, like the previous “color” releases, focuses nominally on the particular color considered, ergo, the original “Big Red” and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay.” Red sports fewer mainstream standards in favor of more Pater compositions and those shared with pianist Mark Little, with “Red Clay” and pianist Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly,” which opens the disc, representing the “standards.” Pater approaches a hip-hop sensibility on “Sir Doug of Edwards” and a Michael Jackson-infused groove on “Big Red,” which features electric guitarist André Bush.
Pater brings all of her James Brown funk to “Red Clay,” producing a rendition that is at once curious and fertile. It is a reflection of the entire disc, which houses music that pushes the envelope of vocal jazz and R&B. Pater has seized on a theme and she is riding it for all it is worth. It will be interesting to see where it goes next.
C. MICHAEL BAILEY, AllAboutJazz.com