“The songs on The Big Purr are stylistically grounded in the warm, mainstream tradition of standard jazz and blues with swing and Latin grooves, but are innovative through the intermittent use of other musical currents occurring unexpectedly in the course of the tunes. Pasheen’s vocal brilliance is reminiscent of the commanding delivery and musical gymnastics of scatters in the tradition of Anita O’Day and Ella Fitzgerald, along with the elastic phrasing of Billie Holiday, but Pasheen has a sound and energy of her own. She uses scat sparingly, not as improvisational ’fill’ material, but rather as an extension of the melody that bridges the gap between vocal interpretation and instrumental performance. She is not only an impressive singer; she is a vocal instrumentalist on a par with the other talented musicians who accompany her on this exciting album.”
North Norwegian Jazz Association
“A first-class project on all fronts. Superb performances, clever lyrics, world-class production. Pasheen is a treasure.”
“Pasheen is a quietly passionate singer with a strong voice and a sensuous delivery. She is also a skilled songwriter (composing or co-writing eight of this CD’s dozen songs) who sets haunting moods that make her jazz debut, The Big Purr, into a type of modern-day jazz noir.
For this project, Pasheen is joined by some of Los Angeles’ top jazz musicians including pianist Rich Eames, bassist Tom Warrington, drummer Dick Weller, trumpeter Carl Saunders, tenor-saxophonist Bob Sheppard and Frank Battaglia on soprano and baritone. The flavor of jazz is felt throughout the set, with occasional solos by the horn players and Eames. Saunders helps out with some of his unusual scat-singing on “You’re So Cute.” Pasheen’s scatting on “Jazz Music” is also excellent.
Most of the music on The Big Purr is from the intersection of jazz and easy-listening pop, and at times it is reminiscent of Michael Franks. The difference is that, while Pasheen can adopt a whispery sound, she is a more versatile vocalist who gives one the impression that she could probably sing in whatever style she wanted. From a tribute to the strange life of Billy Tipton (“Cross Dress”) to tales of love, the night life and relationships, the dream-like pieces flow effortlessly from one song to another. They retain a melancholy but stimulating mood throughout.
The Big Purr is a strong step forward for Pasheen.”
Author of ten jazz books including “The Jazz Singers”, “Jazz On Film” and “Jazz On Record 1917-76”
“For anyone who has forgotten “The Truth,” Pasheen’s “The Big Purr” will remind you of what “Jazz Music” really is. With a preponderance of luscious licks, “The Big Purr” is aptly titled, because I feel like a big phat cat that has just devoured a plate of M&M’s Soul Food after listening to this impressive debut. I don’t know where the line is between jazz and soul, and clearly this Diva-taunt doesn’t either as she stirs, whips, and blends the carefully nuanced lyrics of “So High” reminiscent of Cole Porter at his best; only Pasheen’s smoldering vocal in “Come Home” could dare share the same plate. As a writer, Pasheen is cinematically picturesque, perfectly suited for the noir of Eastwood and Tarantino. Although there are whiffs of Billie Holiday and Julie London throughout this 12-song original collection, the vocal influences of Pasheen aren’t as easily identifiable. Whoever birthed her passion-laden breathy vibrato, it is evidenced that Pasheen is a woman whose big purr comes from a deeper place than her vocal box.
Snaps to Pasheen for enriching our experience with the gift of Scat Man and trumpeter Carl Saunders. The world is a now better place. A finger lick to Mix Master Talley Sherwood whose mix is sooooo darn rich it’s phattenin’. From beginning to end The Big Purr is more than satisfying. It will not only take you to “Heaven” but it will leave you there. This writer gives The Big Purr a Big“G” for Grrrrrrrreat!”
Jazz Critic, P.O.L. Magazine
“Nailed isn’t the word! Pasheen owns every song…she created the cosmos. “The Big Girl” is a master. I knew it from the first time I heard “The Voice”. No voice like that comes without major talent!
The real reason that Jazz is, is the fact that you can “smell” the humanity in the pieces. Jazz, as we know, is about being in the moment, it’s about what’s going on outside the window and in the front room and everywhere else that is totally Human. Pasheen’s lyrics reek of Humanity and its ins and outs. You can smell the sweat, the perfume, the cigarette smoke, the dust and the mud in there – then you know it’s Jazz.”
Roger HD Strange
Studio Jazz Drummer, Canada
“Lush and smooth like velvet dripping from the heat… Whether torching a song or enjoying the fun and sexy side of life, Pasheen takes you on her journey into the heart and the universe. This CD has it all. Great lyrics with emotional content drenched in jazz as hip as it comes. Pasheen’s voice can be as dry as a martini with a twist of cosmic humor, and on the flipside, engaging the listener with subtle nuance, extracting every dramatic moment from each and every syllable. I must give a nod here to the musicians as they bring their “A” game, as only a singer like Pasheen deserves and expects. The horns are well stated and the improvisations masterfully compliment the mood of each tune. The rhythm section swings hard on all twelve tracks but never overpowers the sometimes intense and sometimes purring vocal. . A smart and cool collection of twelve songs that will stay with you until you feel the need for some more of “The Big Purr”.”
Producer, Composer and Publisher
“When you listen to the very best of vocalists, you can hear a distinct style, which comes from a thing called “personality”, which makes them “artists”. Pasheen IS her music, and vice versa. Pitch perfect, rhythmically on the dime, smouldering vocals, lush arrangements, accompanied by famous top-of-the-line musicians… “The Big Purr” is one of life’s great intangibles…” Long live Pasheen!”
Voodoo Croissant Productions
“I confess I have a particular weakness for female vocalists with low voices. It’s as if they are saying to a world that is enamored with high notes and prepubescent timbers, “tough shit.” And with a shrug of the shoulder and a gleam in the eye, they pull and tug at your groin with those low notes, rumble the rafters, and take you to places that only seem to exist in acid-washed film noir and lurid pulp novels. Pasheen is such a creature on her new jazz CD The Big Purr (it is tempting to suggest that the CD’s title is all about those low notes, but that’s awfully easy), and one suspects that she is clearly aware of the inevitable comparisons to sultry contraltos like Julie London, and so puts it right out there, as she does on the opening cut, So High, as if to say, “well, there’s Julie….and then there’s me.” Pasheen makes it clear that she won’t stand in anyone’s shadow, and then proceeds to blast the genre altogether with lyrics that are as playful and mischievous as they are seductive and alluring.
From the first sound one hears (the crackling of an old LP – remember those?) we are placed frankly and unapologetically in a world that could never be inhabited by the teeny-boppers who command the world’s current stage. There is wicked in every fiber of Pasheen’s voice. She is creating her world, song after song, layer after layer, paint stroke upon paint stroke, and welcoming us in, but with a “beware” sign. It’s an underground world. A world that moves at a stroll’s pace. A world of shadows and seduction. A world that almost doesn’t belong in today, but somehow equally in an era bygone and a tomorrow that waits patiently (read timelessly) until the bubble-gummers burn themselves out.
And then there’s that voice! It is textured and haunting, a lesson in the mastery of phrasing, a history rich with tales and battle scars and luscious liquored flavorings, always in impeccable control, if at moments purposely letting loose grace notes both feral and unrestrained, and with the fattest, sexiest vibrato I think I’ve ever heard. Most importantly, at least to this listener, the voice is rife with poignancy and pathos. And every bit of it works.
Pasheen seems happiest (in a lyric) when letting us know that she knows her environment, her fellow jazz players, the luminaries in the genre; and that while she most definitely celebrates them, she also takes her rightful place in the pantheon. Oh believe me, she belongs.
She has fun on cuts like Busy Man (“being a type-A over-achiever myself, I realize that I could end up in a
24-step program”). It’s a lyric that makes one chuckle, while all the time knowing full well that this Big Purr of a singer moves at a Type-A pace for NO ONE, but vamps by, daring you to come along. And so she creates contradictions that serve to remind us just how complex we human beings really are.
There is an underlying sadness in Vanity, a song about cosmetic surgery. What’s most compelling about this cut is Pasheen’s unwillingness to pick a side on the subject, but instead giving us a startling portrait of modern life’s arguably most pathological preoccupation, and that she even dares to broach such an internal-conflict topic within the jazz environment, a neighborhood, from a lyrical standpoint, that has usually been relegated to weepy love songs. However, she is clever with her Porter-esque turns of phrase, and comedic sexual innuendo. She dares to complicate the idiom.
If I seem to be harping a whole lot on lyric, it’s probably because I’m a vocalist too, and lyric means everything to us. But never for a minute think that the rest of the package is an afterthought. Strong melodic writing and a sophisticated harmonic environment puts these songs (more than half of which Pasheen composed or co-composed) squarely in a league with the most timeless of them.
Trumpeter Carl Saunders’ scatting, on his composition You’re So Cute, had me laughing in the jolliest way from pure joy at the fun he is obviously having, a trick that belongs exclusively and exuberantly to the jazz genre, and yet few do it well. I get the feeling this may be signature for Mr. Saunders, as he is given complete carte blanche on this cut, with Pasheen respectfully giving her colleague the floor. Takes balls to give the floor in that way, when it’s your album. But then Pasheen has a pair on her that, I dare say, rivals any of her male counterparts.
As evidenced in her tome to Billy Tipton. Her heart is practically breaking on the wonderfully odd and iconic song Cross Dress, leading us to consider a world so intolerant that it demands the Big Lie. It is equal parts shame-on-us reprimand and loving tribute to the many whose lives were relegated to the fringes. It is melancholic without ever moving into the territory of dirge-y sadness.
My favorite cut has to be the finale track, The Truth, composed by the Diva, herself, which paints a landscape of the Seek, the Search, the Path, and which suggests that this radiant singer has depth to spare, yet she keeps it light and fun: “Maybe god is a goddess in a strapless dress.” Frankly, I’m envisioning that goddess with shocking platinum hair.
She has the best of the best as her production and performance team: Co-producer Barry Coffing and engineer Talley Sherwood to start with, and a parade of some of the business’s top session players from L.A. and Houston, including celebrated woodwind player Bob Sheppard, who offers gorgeous warm-toned tenor solos on most of the tracks, and who, all, help to make every track strong and tight. Straight-ahead swing, crisp bossas, and ECM-esque rhythms create the bed for this body of work to lie on.
Pasheen straddles playfulness and pathos with equal aplomb on this recording of twelve stellar cuts, and celebrates the genre of jazz in such a unique Pasheen-only way, that one gets the feeling she loves rocking the boat of the comfortable, and shaking up folks’ worlds, all for the sake of a powerful musical moment.
Her liner notes include thank yous to animal rescuers and to our soldiers, which gives a clue into the passion and compassion at work in this beautiful songstress’ heart. But you won’t have had to read about it in the liner notes to feel it with every note sung.
You’ll find you need to hear The Big Purr again and again just to catch every finely layered nuance. It was a joy for this listener. Congratulations Diva!”
Angela Carole Brown
Singer/songwriter and author of Trading Fours