Robin Banks, “Modern Classic”

I have had my share covering major blues artists. I love the music and most can relate to the lyrics and the stories they tell. Recently I stumbled on a recording artist with roots in Toronto, Canada. She offers more than just soul and R&B. Her name is Robin Banks. If you like the blues you will like her music. But if you love jazz, you will love her latest album, Modern Classic. This album gets your attention with jazz sounds that flirt with the standards. Bobby Darin would have no problem covering her music.

I love Modern Classic. As I listen, it takes me to a cool nightclub sipping my favorite beverage getting into some good blues/jazz music. Many compare Robin to artists such as Etta James and Dinah Washington. But, I heard the famous jazz singer, “Sweet Nancy” Wilson. As I listen to Robin, could not help but think of Robin covering the 1934 Ray Noble classic, “The Very Thought of You.” It would fit her well.

Many of the tracks on Modern Classic take the blues/jazz genre in a direction that mixes “something old with something new.” Her songs such as “I Really Dig You” and “A Little Bit of Heaven” have an up-tempo ‘60s jazz sound. “A Little Bit of Heaven” is two songs in one. “Tonight” is another well-done piece. The bass player has a cool solo.

Her songwriting adds a contemporary source to the numbers. Robin’s songs on Modern Classic are originals. Robin writes in “I Really Dig You,” “Trust my heart,” “It’s telling me it’s ok to love a little deeper.” “A love astronaut out on a mission, I really dig you.” I really dig her songwriting. Duke Robillard, her producer agrees saying, “The songs on her new CD bring together all her talents in a way that shows her as a major force in roots music.” Duke is an excellent producer. He gives the album added foundation. A plus to Modern Classic is Duke’s band played in the sessions making this album astounding. Interesting on the album is the country/blues piece, “A Place in the City.” As Robin shows off her songwriting, this track gives the album variety. “A Place in the City” needs only Floyd Cramer’s piano in the background.

Robin has an excellent produced album. She has made a mark with her sultry singing/songwriting that mixes many genres of the blues. Modern Classic is a collection of modern classics. Nominated in 2010 and 2011 for Female Vocalist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards, she may have new nominations coming with Modern Classic. The blues/jazz mix is sublime. In the past, Robin has attended the Gaildorf Blues Fest, the oldest and most prized blues fest in Europe. She needs to be there summer 2015 and showcase this new material.

This is JR Miller with High Note Reviews and Miss Robin Banks has a Modern Classic.

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