Album Review of
'Tis Autumn

Written by Joe Ross
December 11, 2020 - 2:29am EST
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Sometimes less is more. With concision, masterful musicians make grand statements in very economical ways. Marty Elkins (vocals) and Mike Richmond (bass/cello) take a lean yet soulful, interpretive approach with these ten classics composed in the 1920s-40s. Over Richmond’s sturdy, swinging groove, Elkins imparts sublime character to the songs as she freely explores their melodies. While lyrics crystallize the messages, Elkins’ scat vocalizing provides added emotional resonance on numbers like “Lullaby of the Leaves,”  “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “When the Red, Red, Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along.” Throughout the set, Richmond shows utmost respect for the vocalist as he pares away excess to provide perfect servings of tone, timing, phrasing, rhythm and improvisation. The duo’s presentation of Duke Ellington’s “In a Mellow Tone” might best convey their thematic musical vision, and they also impart depth of feeling into each note of “Old Devil Moon,” “’Tis Autumn,” and “I Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues.” For slightly less rawboned arrangements, Richmond multi-tracks bass and cello on “Stairway to the Stars” and “My Mother's Eyes. You might miss piano, guitar or percussion in the mix if you were listening to this album in your car during rush hour. Rather, grab a glass of cabernet, put another log on the fire, and cue up this duo’s music for an intimate experience of unique flair and tranquility.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)