Review by Brad Walseth
A Christian-themed jazz vocal album may not on the surface seem to be everyone's cup of wine, but Barbara King's "Perfect Timimg" turns out to be a pleasant surprise, transcending with its solid choice of covered songs, original compositions, playing, and of course Ms. King's delightful singing. With a strong dark and silky voice that has been described as having a hint of Sarah Vaughn duskiness to it, King takes us through jazz version of songs like Bob Dylan's "Forever Young," Burt Bacharach's "I Say a Little Prayer," Stevie Wonder's "Ribbon in the Sky," Donny Hathaway's blusey "Tryin' Times" and the Beatles' gospel-influenced "Let it Be." These secular, but spiritual tunes are joined by originals the upbeat opener "Miracles,"the lushly Latin-flavored "Overtaken," "Your Smile" and two versions of the title track.
With solid musicianship from a wide cast of well-known and lesser known players backing her, King shines. Arturo O'Farrill on piano and Dave Valentin on flute help out on "Your Smile," while Wonder's "Ribbon in the Sky" is also enhanced by trumpeter, Cecil Bridgewater. "I Say a Little Prayer" takes on a whole new meaning in this energetic and satisfying rendition. But it is the special voice of Ms. King that is a highlight. "Forever Young" shimmers, "Overtaken" and "Your Smile" churn and sway, but in the end it is her heartfelt version of J.C. White's "One More Day" that has the most power to stir.