Naama - "Baby Won't You Please Come Home"
La Reserve Records, 2024
New York-based, Israeli vocalist Naama has been busy on both sides of Covid-19 . She released her debut recording Dearly Beloved (Cellar Live), with vibraphonist Steve Nelson, pianist Ray Gallon, bassist David Wong, and drummer Aaron Kimmel, in April 2020, right in the vestibule of the pandemic, losing a good bit of promotional traction from lacking live performances during the period. Despite this, Naama's recording garnered favorable reviews. Dearly Beloved was an announcement of a supple and gifted talent emerging.
Breaking ahead two years, Naama programmed a new recording to be released in full in November 2022, If I Knew Then (Sassy's Back In Town, 2022), on which pianist Ben Paterson, bassist Neal Miner, and drummer Evan Sherman accompanied her. Ahead of that release, the singer did a very clever thing. In the months leading up to the full recording, she released singles anticipating the final product. This marketing paradigm worked so well that Naama repeated it with her next recording, Where Flamingos Fly (La Reserve, 2023). She was supported again by vibraphonist Steve Nelson, with pianist Bruce Barth and bassist Dave Baron. With each recording, the singer has shown rapid and complete evolution as an artist, with no signs of stopping.
Knowing a good thing when she experiences it, Naama is laying the groundwork for the release of Wild Is Love, scheduled for full release on June 28, 2024. Naama has guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianist Glenn Zaleski, bassist Dave Baron, and drummer Charles Goold on this outing. Her first single is the 1919 Charles Warfield and Clarence William composition, “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home.” This song has such a history that it was recorded early by Bessie Smith in 1923 on Columbia Records A-3888 and many times by many artists since.
Naama has blossomed into a beautifully nuanced vocalist able to call upon a litany of sonic moods and desires with which to inform her singing. On “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” the singer deftly blends the gritty privation of Bessie Smith with the golden entitlement of Amy Winehouse into a drowsy, sensual plea from a bundle of warm sheets…and that is just the first verse. Glenn Zaleski introduces the song with a standard arrangement piano lead-in to a soft but solid downbeat where Naama begins at a sleepy simmer, remaining there for the first verse that gives way to a tasteful solo chorus from bassist Baron. The second verse has Naama at a gentle boil en route to something more, moving into her upper register to lead the song to its fitting coda. I sure hope that he came home.