Making her debut as a solo artist with Other Side of Forever from Whispering River Records, vocalist Robin Bessier shines vibrantly through the recording covering a selection of arrangements inspired by jazz standards, samba jaunts, and balmy bossa novas. Learning to compose music on both guitar and piano while attending Western Washington State University, Bessier discovered her attraction to bluesy ballads and bopping swing tunes. Her solo effort displays her mellifluous vocal style as she delivers her rendition of softly flickered melodies such as “Whisper” intermingled with festive rompers like “Jubilee” featuring Mike McKinley and David Lange on hand percussions laden with billowing crests fueled by Caribbean-tinged accents.
The frolicking tempo of “Better than Anything” radiates a springtime vibe as the swirling toots of Jay Thomas’ saxophone burrows a buoyant propulsion. The mellow tone of Darin Clendenin’s piano keys driving “Harvest Time” fosters a refined swagger in the melody, and the bouncy trot plowed along “The Very Thought of You” buffers the caressing strokes of Bessier’s vocals. Calming and upbeat, the songs are flint to put listeners in a frame of mind that empowers them to enjoy life.
The light ripples of Thomas’ horns cabling the title track are stoked by Clendenin’s keys, and shift to a bubbly canter in “Don’t Worry We’ve Got You” as Dan Sales’ guitar puts frothy kinks along the chord progressions. Bessier’s treatment of Arthur Herzog and Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” is trussed in a misty soul shading, and coasts into a swinging trot in “Right Here Right Now.” Her rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” has bluesy swells surging a romantic flare then shimmies into the samba grooves of “Too Nice” as Bessier molds her vocals to the pumping pattern of the rhythm section.
Persuaded by the likes of jazz artisans such as Duke Ellington, Ray Noble, and Billie Holiday, Robin Bessier shows the art form of jazz is conducive to modern settings. Produced and arranged by Barney McClure, the Other Side of Forever is laden in American smooth and Latin-clad sambas. It’s an album that evokes positive vibrations in listeners swaying them to embrace life and hold onto each moment.
Robin Bessier – vocals, Darin Clendenin – piano, Clipper Anderson – bass, Mark Ivester – drums, Jay Thomas – trumpet, flugelhorn, tenor and soprano saxophones, Jeff Busch – percussion, Dan Sales – guitar and banjo
Mike McKinley and David Lange – hand percussion on “Jubilee” and Barney McClure – piano on “God Bless the Child”
Don’t Worry We’ve Got You (Robin Bessier), Jubilee (Bobby McFarrin), God Bless the Child (Arthur Herzog and Billie Holiday), Right Here Right Now (Robin Bessier), Prelude to a Kiss (Duke Ellington), Too Nice (Barney McClure), Whisper (Robin Bessier), Better Than Anything (Bill Loughborough and David Wheat), Harvest Time (Herbie and Jean Hancock), The Very Though of You (Ray Noble), Other Side of Forever (Barney McClure)