Kari Kirkland: If (When You Go)

Polished arrangements of pops featuring Shelly Berg, Terrell Stafford, Dean Parks and Peter Erskine have some good jazz moments


Ms Kirkland attempts to straddle the worlds of pop, jazz fusion and rock in this collection. She has five horns, rhythm and the Budapest String Orchestra to assist her. Plus, piano, B3 and Rhodes accompaniment from Shelly Berg who also wrote all the arrangements.

It is a big line up, recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and, I suspect, no expense spared to complete the album.

Ms Kirkland has a soft, intimate vocal style and she uses it to good effect on the ballads and songs made famous by other pop stars. Since I Fell For You is the only standard, which she takes at ultra-slow tempo. She sings the lyric of Sting’s Fragile, and it gradually segues into What The World Needs Now Is Love but this is not credited on the liner. I Can’t Help it is the liveliest track, with a big-band feel and a jazz-fusion vocal style.

The best jazz moments are provided by the occasional solos by Dean Parks’ guitar, Terrell Stafford on trumpet and the steady drumming of Peter Erskine. Kevin Axt plays bass on all but one track. More pop and rock than jazz really, but one or two good moments.

I Can’t Help It; Since I Fell For You; Fix You; Fragile; Good Things Fall Apart; If (When You Go); I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On; Lover, You Should’ve Come Over (42.11)
Kirkland (v); Shelly Berg (p, elp, arr); Terrell Stafford (t); Dean Parks (elg); Kevin Axt (b); Peter Erskine (d). Plus horn section, percussion & The Budapest String Orchestra. Capitol Studio, Los Angeles, no dates listed.
Slea Head Records SOF 236