THE LOOK OF LOVE
Pamela Williams wanted to pay homage to the genius of Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Dionne Warwick. The current marketplace simply provided the opportunity -- and she takes brilliant advantage, coming up with stylistic twists that somehow do add something fresh. Her playing is rich, soulful, and expressive (all trademarks to her sensual, groove-oriented sound) and her arrangements are bright and energetic. Sometimes, they're straightforward and low-key (the lush, smoky title track; "Anyone Who Had a Heart"), and in other instances they're snazzy, jazzy, brassy, and funky, as on "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)" (featuring Steve "Left Hand" Lewis' crisp and cool electric guitar), the bright and bouncy "Don't Make Me Over," and "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," which bursts with a bubbling, percussive Latin vibe. "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Walk on By" (with dreamy vocals by Precious Iglesias) perfectly reflect Williams' preferred playful old-school style. So while the idea of yet another album of pop standards was old hat by the time she got around to pursuing her dream, the saxophonist's powerfully emotional execution makes these timeless songs as hip as they can be 40 years after listeners first heard them.