Teri Thornton – I’ll Be Easy to Find {Verve}

Review by Michael G. Nastos (allmusic.com)

After a nearly 40-year hiatus, Teri Thornton is back to swing and sing her way into your heart. In comparison to her old Riverside recordings, it seems she’s lost nothing vocally, her angelic clarity and soulful vibrato are intact, and her enthusiasm is still spiking depth charts. She’s backed by her own piano on four cuts, and the able Ray Chew on the others, save Norman Simmons for the sole live-in-concert finale (she and Simmons are credited) with bassist Lonnie Plaxico, alto sax and flute master Jerome Richardson, trombonist Dave Bargeron, multi-instrumentalist Howard Johnson, and drummer J.T. Lewis. At her best on ballads, blues, and upbeat swingers, Thornton proves she really can do it all. Her rippling Ella-cum-Sarah chords are unfettered on a rousing live “Salty Mama” with Grady Tate (drums) and Michael Bowie (bass). The funky blues is all right with Thornton on “Feels Good.” A showstopper, “Knee Deep in the Blues,” and the faded in and out bossa “Wishing Well” are from her pen. The most unusual arrangement by producer Suzi Reynolds of “Nature Boy” has no discernible time signature. It’s kinetic but seems to float, Plaxico punctuating but never seeming to ever hit one. Richardson’s great flute work and Bargeron and Johnson’s background horns play inquisitive mind games, quite a challenging listen. She sings the ballads “Somewhere in the Night,” “Where Are You Running?,” and the title cut immaculately — not kitten soft but forcefully pronounced. She’s boppin’ on “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and adapts “The Lord’s Prayer” in a modal vein, Chew’s piano chordally searching for deliverance, and she really shines instrumentally on “I’ll Be Seeing You” in a fashion that rivals Shirley Horn. There is a definitive song, “I Believe in You,” with a great lyric that seems to sum up the influence of a certain someone who has helped Thornton through her battles with cancer and the constant yin-yang of raising a family for these past four decades. Teri Thornton is emphatically back with this complete view of an artist, finally giving us a taste of what we’ve suspected these many years.

01 – Somewhere in the Night
02 – I Believe in You
03 – It Ain’t Necessarily So
04 – The Lord’s Prayer
05 – Knee Deep in the Blues
06 – I’ll Be Easy to Find
07 – Nature Boy
08 – Wishing Well
09 – Where Are You Running?
10 – Feels Good
11 – I’ll Be Seeing You
12 – Salty Mama

Teri Thornton – vocals (all tracks), piano (7, 10, 11)
Howard Johnson – cornet, tuba, contrabass clarinet, baritone sax (1, 3, 5, 7-9)
Dave Bargeron – trombone (1, 7-9)
Jerome Richardson – flute, bass flute, alto sax (1, 4, 7-9)
Ray Chew – piano (1-6, 8, 9)
Norman Simmons – piano (12)
Lonnie Plaxico – bass (1-11)
Michael Bowie – bass (12)
J. T. Lewis – drums (1-11)
Grady Tate – drums (12)

Recorded on June 22 & 24, 1997 at RPM Studios, New York

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork