REVIEWS FOR JIM FERGUSON
Magazine - March 2002
... 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
male balladeer of his generation, he sings with unaffected, irresistible
TIMES - Joel E. Siegel
remarkable about Ferguson isnt 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 Bakers
youthful cool-school vocalizing.
The most affecting contemporary jazz-oriented male vocalist, Ferguson
cant quite explain how or why he is able to invest so much vulnerability
in his music.
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
Jim Ferguson (A-Records)
of the year is the most romantic?
sings of the romance that exists for all seasons. For his latest album
hes selected a program of songs that dig deep; they tug at your
its the rainy season, the coldest week of winter, or a torrid heat
wave, Jim Fergusons romantic collection of songs goes right to the
heart of good music.
Guide EXPERT REVIEW - Alex Henderson
Deep Summer Music should please those who complain that jazz doesnt
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.
other jazz singers are trying to impress you with how fast they can scat
their way through John Coltranes "Giant Steps," Ferguson
makes feeling his top priority on this soulful, if derivative, release.
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...
MORNING EDITION Bob Edwards
"This is music you play on your first date."
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.
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."
CITY PAPER Joel E. Siegel
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
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...
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.
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. ...
IMPROV John Barrett, Jr.
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.
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. ...
PLAYER MAGAZINE Ed Friedland
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
offers swinging, straightahead jazz tunes that feature his solid upright
lines and melodic soloing as well as his beautiful vocal renditions. ...
DOUBLE BASSIST MAGAZINE Simon Woolf
...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...
JOURNAL International Richard Palmer
The record is a complete success
Ferguson's light but muscular
voice captivates, his enunciation is
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.
- VOICES Lee Jeske
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.
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
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.
& 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.