June Garber: Off the Carousel
Under normal circumstances you would refer to the repertoire on this album as “standards”, but when June Garber sings them they become songs written by her – or at the very least songs written just for her. The reason? These songs on her album Off the Carousel seem to speak to her in the secret of her heart and she wraps herself so completely around their narratives that when they reappear she has poured body and soul into them. She not only has the voice [especially] for this kind of material, but she brings pathos, seduction, and wry humour into the lyric, digging not only into the meaning of each word and phrase, but bringing soft dynamic to evocative lines, imbuing them with a very special grace.
These are mostly dusky songs and thus they are right up Miss Garber’s alley. But despite her smoky voice which enables her to mesmerise listeners with sensual delivery, she displays a remarkable ability to soar when the song calls for high notes to express powerful emotions. In the lower notes of her register she is utterly beckoning. But above all her vocals are laced with a distinct spirituality that makes her one of a kind – even among artists of the first order. “He Never Mentioned Love” gives fair warning of a captivating series of songs to come. “Just for a Thrill” is dark, but absolutely alluring, made more so with the exquisite interjections from the inimitable Jackie Richardson. And “Spain” is beyond exquisite.
The apogee of the album is, [for me at least], “The Shadow of Your Smile”, where she raises the benchmark on a classic, the former high-ground of which was once held by the Chairman of the Board. Much of the beauty of the musical production has to do with masterful arrangements by Lou Pomanti. The rest of the group – Marc Rogers, Steve Heathcote, Jake Langley, Robin Black and Mr Pomanti, and, of course the ubiquitous and brilliant journeymen, Drew Jurecka and William Sperandei – show themselves to be fully attuned to Miss Garber’s artistry and vision. An album of songs that soar with passion…
Track list – 1: He Never Mentioned Love; 2: Windmills of Your Mind; 3: Just for a Thrill; 4: Spain; 5: Shadow of Your Smile; 6: When October Goes; 7: Come to Me High; 8: Rules of the Road
Personnel – June Garber: vocals; Lou Pomanti: keyboards [1 – 5, 7, 8]; Marc Rogers: bass; Steve Heathcote: drums [1 – 3, 7]; Jake Langley: guitar [1, 4, 7]; Drew Jurecka: strings [1 – 5]; William Sperandei: trumpet ; Robin Black: background vocals [4, 7]. Featuring – Jackie Richardson: voice 
Released – 2021
Label – Vesuvius Music [VM 005]
Runtime – 38:08
Full Review (PDF)