Singer/Songwriter Sylvia Brooks' "Signature" Out Now and Available On All Platforms

Since her captivating debut in 2009, jazz vocalist Sylvia Brooks has displayed a gift for inhabiting different personas, with a subspecialty in film- noir inspired femmes fatale. On this - Signature (Rhombus Records) - her fourth album, she embraces the most challenging role of all, defining herself with a set of beautifully crafted original songs. Her evocative lyrics and emotionally direct delivery imbue the music with hard-won authenticity. Whether looking back with wry affection on her walk-on-the-wild-side youth or lamenting a lost love, Brooks brings bracing honesty and poise to the material.

Artistically, she is collaborating with Southern California’s most creative accompanists: ace pianists Tom Ranier, Jeff Colella, and Christian Jacob designed beguiling, harmonically rich settings for her incisive lyrics. The stellar rhythm section tandem of drummer Ray Brinker and bassist Trey Henry appear on almost every track. Also featuring cellists John Waltz, lead cellist for The Los Angeles Opera Company, Stephanie Fife and Mike Kaufman.

Highlights include the cautionary tale “Red Velvet Rope” which is set to a sensuous Latin groove by cuatro master Kiki Valera, scion of a legendary Cuban musical clan. And she sways through swingtown, from the witty “Catch 22” to the passionately romantic “The Flea Markets of Paris.” The two songs she includes by other artists, Melody Gardot’s bluesy, organ-driven “Your Heart Is as Black as Night” and the Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson erotic lament “Boogie Street” seem to raise the temperature of her own work. This album marks a quantum leap reflecting years of concentrated effort.

“I really worked hard on trying to make the stories deeper and richer, ” she says, “each song is really a story within itself.”

Tom Rainer
Christian Jacob
Jeff Colella
Nikos Syropoulos
Kiki Valera
Jamie Arent
Trey Henry
Kevin Axt
Cooper Appelt
Ray Brinker
Aaron Serfaty
Ivan Edwards
John Walz
Mike Kaufman
Stephanie Fife
David Witham
Jeff Bunell
Dave Richards
Brian Scanlon
Tom Luer
Jackie Smiley
Leah Williams
Perro Lou

Your Heart Is as Black as Night (Gardot) 3:27
Catch 22 (Brooks - Colella) 4:46
Red Velvet Rope (Brooks - Marder) 4:18
Over and Done (Brooks - Colella) 3:55
The Boy That Lived There (Brooks - Ranier) 3:47
Sixteen (Brooks - Ranier) 3:34
The Flea Markets of Paris (Brooks - Jacob) 3:59
Holding Back Tears (Brooks - Jacob) 4:26
Boogie Street (Cohen - Robinson) 6:16

SYLVIA BROOKS/Signature: When last we met Brooks, she had our vote for femme fatale of the year (any year). This time around, she’s toned down her look on the front cover, not disguising her maturity but not reveling in it either. Inside the jacket, you get the lady in red looking as dangerous as ever surrounding herself with the crème of SoCal jazz and displaying a world wiseness without a Marlena Dietrich world weariness. It’s ain’t an easy trick to pull off music as cinema but she does it again here. Well done throughout.
(Rhombus 7149)
-Midwest Record, Chris Spector

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