Twelve years ago, jazz vocalist Diana Panton started an interesting trilogy of recordings with the release of her album, Pink (2009). The record was the beginning of a story of a romantic relationship between two people. The story was continued in 2013 with the equally simply titled Red. Now less than a decade after that record’s release, Panton has completed the trilogy with her brand new album (her 10th album so far), Blue. A press release announcing the album’s release points out the intentional use of colors as the albums’ titles. It notes that pink is the color of infatuation, red the color of true love and its passion, and blue the color of heartbreak. The lyrical content featured throughout the record is a perfect fit for that description, too. This will be discussed shortly. While the lyrical content featured in this record matches well with the record’s title, the musical content that accompanies that lyrical content fits well with said material, but at the same time that is sadly not necessarily a good thing. This will be discussed a little later. The record’s production is also a positive worth noting and will also be examined later. When it is considered along with the album’s overall lyrical presentation, those two elements together make Blue worth hearing at least once.
Blue, the latest album from Diana Panton, is an intriguing new offering from the veteran jazz vocalist. Its interest comes in large part through its collective lyrical content. The album’s overall lyrical content focuses on the topic of love lost. That is because the album is the conclusion of a story about a romantic relationship that started with love’s birth (so to speak) way back in 2009 in Pink. The topic of love lost is universal, as is love found. To that end, the overall lyrical presentation here will find itself easily accessible to plenty of audiences. That includes audiences who might be less familiar with Panton and her catalog. From beginning to end, the album’s subject goes through the stages of dealing with that loss. From the initial sadness of the loss to eventually coming to terms with it as she sings about knowing that former love being there even when that person is not physically there. Rather than being sad or even angry, her memories are actually fond, showing that she has at last moved forward. Keeping all o this in mind this gradual lyrical progression from beginning to end will certainly resonate with audiences who are going through and even who have gone through the noted situation. To that end, the album’s overall lyrical presentation forms a strong foundation for the overall record’s presentation.
While the lyrical presentation featured in this album does well for the record, the musical content that accompanies the album’s lyrical presentation is somewhat more of a balancing act. The mood set throughout the album’s musical arrangements is subdued. Early on in the likes of ‘Where Do You Start/Once Upon A Time’ ‘Losing My Mind’ and her cover of The Beatles’ timeless single, ‘Yesterday’ goes beyond being subdued and becomes quite melancholy. Between that mood early on and the more subdued mood (that sometimes even includes a bit of cynicism) that makes up the rest of the album, the noted approach helps bring out the most from the songs’ lyrical material. At the same time though, it also causes the songs, which range between two minutes, 15 seconds to as much as six minutes, 13 seconds, to feel even longer than they are. That is because they move so slowly as they illustrate the feelings expressed in each song’s lyrical content. This actually hurts the album to a point because it is very likely to leave many audiences feeling like they want to just fast forward through the tracks, or just skip them altogether after a certain point. Keeping this in mind, while the record’s musical content is helpful in making the album reach its overall goal, the fact of the matter is that it actually hurts the album in the bigger picture. It is not enough to doom the record, but is still of concern.
Knowing that the musical content featured in Blue is not enough to doom the record, there is still at least one more positive to examine. That positive is the album’s production. The production takes into account the emotions that Panton works to illicit through the arrangements, and succeeds in making sure that said emotions are fully felt by her audiences. The subtleties in her dynamic control as she sings and the balance therein with the songs’ instrumentations are handled expertly from one song to the next. To that end, even as long as the songs feel because of the overall approach taken, audiences who are willing to sit through the songs will certainly note the time and effort that clearly went into the songs’ production. When they do they will agree that the album, in conjunction with Pink and Red works quite well at least. The record still does not make itself memorable in the bigger picture of Panton’s overall catalog even with this in mind but is still worth hearing at least once.
Blue, the latest album from Diana Panton, is an intriguing new offering from the veteran jazz vocalist. It is a presentation that works well with its counterparts, Pink and Red. That is due to its overarching lyrical presentation and even the emotion evoked through its musical arrangements and their production. At the same time, the arrangements and production thereof makes it necessary for audiences to be in a specific mindset in order to fully appreciate the songs. To that end, the album – again – works in companion with its counterparts, but in the bigger picture of Panton’s catalog, is sadly one of her less memorable presentations.
Blue is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Diana Panton’s latest news at:
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