Commentary Magazine - March 2002
Terry Teachout

... Many famous singers...have recorded "The Night We Called It a Day," but
the best version on record is the most recent one, performed by the
singer-bassist Jim Ferguson. A light, low-lying tenor with a slight but
unmistakable Southern accent and a flawless command of the falsetto-like
"head voice," ...his heart is in jazz and standard song; perhaps the finest
male balladeer of his generation, he sings with unaffected, irresistible


JAZZ TIMES - Joel E. Siegel
April 2001


…What’s remarkable about Ferguson isn’t that he simultaneously sings and plays bass, but that he does both so well. … Ferguson is equally accomplished as a straightahead jazz bassist and a smooth, supple tenor with a style reminiscent of, but far more expressive than, Chet Baker’s youthful cool-school vocalizing. …
…The most affecting contemporary jazz-oriented male vocalist, Ferguson can’t quite explain how or why he is able to invest so much vulnerability in his music. …

NPR's review page

NPR Jazz Riffs CD Review - Joel E. Siegel
Deep Summer Music - Jim Ferguson

…Leading a quartet, featuring saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist Stefan Karlsson, and drummer Jim White, Ferguson's intimate, deeply felt singing combined with eloquent instrumental solos yields one the year's most satisfying in jazz vocal albums.

AllAboutJazz.com - Jim Santella
November, 2000

Deep Summer Music
Jim Ferguson (A-Records)

Which season of the year is the most romantic?

Jim Ferguson sings of the romance that exists for all seasons. For his latest album he’s selected a program of songs that dig deep; they tug at your heartstrings. …

…Whether it’s the rainy season, the coldest week of winter, or a torrid heat wave, Jim Ferguson’s romantic collection of songs goes right to the heart of good music. …

All Music Guide EXPERT REVIEW - Alex Henderson

Deep Summer Music
Jim Ferguson

… Jim Ferguson’s Deep Summer Music should please those who complain that jazz doesn’t have enough male singers anymore. Much to his credit, the Nashville resident is a clone of no one. … he is a recognizable singer who can be sweetly introspective one minute and bluesy the next. …

…While other jazz singers are trying to impress you with how fast they can scat their way through John Coltrane’s "Giant Steps," Ferguson makes feeling his top priority on this soulful, if derivative, release.

NEW YORK TIMES - Sunday Arts & Leisure Terry Teachout
New jazz singers are as thick on the ground these days as blockbuster movies, and just about as interchangeable. Not so Jim Ferguson, whose first album, "Not Just Another Pretty Bass," is the most distinctive recording debut since Diana Krall came along four years ago with "Only Trust Your Heart." ...his fluid, supple solo style is at once unobtrusively virtuosic and unfailingly melodic - just what you'd expect from a bass player who sings… The vocals are warm and irresistibly tender, and the band plays with the telepathic confidence of a longtime working group; the feel is that of a relaxed, intimate late-night set by a jazz singer of the first rank, backed up by a formidable quartet of instrumentalists who are at the top of their game...
Read the entire article...

"This is music you play on your first date."

JAZZ EDUCATORS JOURNAL Dr. Herb Wong - Radio/Recordings Chair
From the opening title tune and onward, Ferguson's double-barreled talent is on the table top calling for attention, brandishing his wit and fire with the utmost good taste and control…he doesn't strive to achieve effects that waver from the integrity of his emotions. …Whether directed to his bass or vocal stylings, his mix of quality elements make Jim Ferguson a genuinely strong, accessible fresh talent pulling for serious notice.

"…the most impressive singer-instrumentalist to come along since Chet Baker and Andy Bey."

…I've never heard a more touching "Blame It On My Youth." …or a more affecting "I Get Along Without You Very Well." … As a purely instrumental album, Not Just Another Pretty Bass would bear comparison with the work of Paul Desmond, Bill Evans and other romanticists. With the complement of Ferguson's heartfelt vocal interpretations of a first-rate repertoire, his CD rates among the most accomplished jazz debuts in years.

JAZZ TIMES Sunsh Stein
...some guys just have it all and Jim Ferguson brings a total package to this debut recording. He's an accomplished, trained vocalist as well as a skilled bassist. His bass is tuneful and rich sounding. With a hard swinging band, Ferguson shows his stuff, laying down clean lines and vibrant solos... He sings like an Irish tenor - high, light, but full-bodied...

LA JAZZ SCENE Jim Santella
…A program that includes "Early Autumn," "Blame it on my Youth," "Lazy Afternoon," and "Autumn Serenade" is bound to make you feel like relaxing by the fire while drinking in the music. (Chris) Potter and (Pat) Coil provide complementary solos throughout the program in support of a unique male jazz singer with a lot to offer. Highly recommended.

THE MONTEREY COUNTY POST Johnny Adams - CD Pick of the Week
This album is a fantastic, exciting, colorful, passionate, many-sided set of performances... Ferguson is a musician of uncommon imagination and emotional persuasiveness. …Yet his singing abilities find his approach easy and relaxed, but with full and deliberate control. His manner is direct, emotional, and honest without any resort to gimmicks. ...

JAZZ IMPROV John Barrett, Jr.
…The…voice is vulnerable, a male ingenue persona rare in singing. (The notes mention Chet Baker; some of that is here.) It's wonderful to hear (on "Blame It On My Youth") a man say, "I was like a toy," and perfect when this man says it. A fragile voice meets those fragile words - your heart shatters. (Potter's, too - his tenor rings with sweet despair.) The last in closing, and a similar mood, "Get Along Without You" starts strong, getting tender with every "except" in the lyric. Hear him tremble, the voice revealing what the words try to hide. It's a full picture of love, from a side rarely taken in male vocals. The backing is always strong, and when he drawls, watch out! This is a special disc, for the pretty bass but also for the pretty voice.

JAZZ SCENE - Oregon's Jazz Magazine George Fendel
...Some singers never learn the most important of lessons; just sing the song and leave the "showbiz" to others. Jim Ferguson understands. ...there is a warmth and sincerity in these standards that I really admired. His quartet, which includes Chris Potter on tenor, plus Ferguson's Chet Baker-ish vocals, will delight you. ...

Singing and playing bass is a challenge in any style of music, but imagine walking a continuous stream of fresh quarter-notes over jazz changes while holding down the groove, singing complex melodies, and putting it all across with conviction, taste, and tone. On his solo debut …Jim Ferguson offers swinging, straightahead jazz tunes that feature his solid upright lines and melodic soloing as well as his beautiful vocal renditions. ...

...This is no ordinary talent. Ferguson is revealed not only as an absolutely first-rate bassist, with a rich even tone, flawless intonation, a swinging pulse and a lyrical and fluent solo style, but also as an accomplished and distinctive vocalist. His light, pleasing tenor is heard here on a programme of classic but unhackneyed songs...

JAZZ JOURNAL International Richard Palmer
…The record is a complete success… Ferguson's light but muscular voice captivates, his enunciation is
excellent…In sum, this date is highly intelligent, very well programmed and drenched in top-class musicianship. I congratulate Ferguson on his work here - both in conception and performance - and I hope we hear a lot more of all the four guys involved.

JULY 2000
Jim Ferguson is an acquired taste who shares a few things with that Dorough-Frishberg tradition: He sings with a Southern accent (hey, he's from Tennessee); he plays an instrument (bass); and he's got a penchant for Hoagy Carmichael, the genre's godfather. The self-penned title track of Not Just Another Pretty Bass (A Records), the album's only original, shows that his tongue is in the right place. Thing is, Ferguson's a surprisingly pretty singer. He doesn't squeak or croak or drawl; he's got spring water in those pipes. He's also a classic, round-toned romantic, kind of a highly polished version of Chet Baker. With his own bass leading a fine trio, and exceptionally tasty solos from saxophonist Chris Potter, Jim Ferguson is another pretty bass, but a rare one with a beautiful voice.

AMAZON.COM Andrew Bartlett
Bassist and singer Jim Ferguson is undoubtedly a minority: people who sing and play an instrument in the jazz world are very few and far between. ...Ferguson is even odder, playing acoustic bass while singing. But he's a wonder. He holds a great Southern-tinged voice… If it's a fine croon set into a slender jazz quartet context that you're after, check this out.

CDNOW Stacy Meyn
Judging by the album title, you might think Jim Ferguson has something to prove, and indeed, he is up against the admonishment often given to jazz vocalist-instrumentalists: Focus on one or the other, or the entire performance will suffer. With the opening/title track singer-songwriter-bassist Ferguson energetically and humorously dispels that concern by showing both his singing and playing chops. ...he glides into the lush vocal showpieces "Early Autumn" and Oscar Levant's "Blame it On My Youth." Ferguson has a smooth, warm, and intimate tenor delivery that occasionally belies his Tennessee roots but also recalls Mose Allison and Mel Tormé in timbre and phrasing.

BARNES & NOBLE Web site Steve Futterman
In jazz, singing bassists are as rare as dancing saxophonists. Scarcer still are singing bassists who have more than serviceable voices. Enter the surprising Jim Ferguson, a thoroughly swinging bassist and strikingly affecting vocalist. His able instrumental work is apparent throughout this collection of familiar standards … but it's Ferguson's sure singing that catches you most off guard. It takes real smarts to aim for understatement rather than more blatant vocal gestures, and Ferguson proves himself a wise man throughout. By underplaying his delivery on wistful songs like "Autumn Serenade" and "Lazy Afternoon," Ferguson finds his way to each tune's core.


Listen to Jim's interview on NPR Morning Edition

All content and music copyright 1999 Jim Ferguson

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