indexI put on June Garber’s ‘This I Know’ the other night without knowing lick about her. I wanted some music to listen to while eating. It was during ‘Hit Me With A Hot Note’ when I had to stop eating and look at the album cover. I have to admit, I was a bit weirded out with her African-ish arrangement of that song, with its street and tribal touches. I honestly thought when I saw her album cover that she would be more of the theater-singing vein. I was surprised, and started to pay attention to the album, and… I have listened to it a couple more times since and I find I am discovering multitudes of layers from it. That’s a good thing. Usually, I just get bored. Garber, apparently, is from South Africa, and has since migrated to Canada. (I thought Sathima Bea Benjamin was the only South African jazz vocalist out there, but I knew I was wrong) I’This I Know’ definitely has character. The song selection reflects a life lived and is wisful:  ‘Live For Live,’It Was A Very Good Year,’ ‘The Man That Got Away,””I’m Gonna Live Till I Die.”  Garber has a great middle chest voice, not unlike Sue Raney. And she draws from a lot of inspiration – she covers Melissa Manchester’s ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud,’ and does a medlette of Adele and Peggy Lee with ‘Rumour Has It/Fever’ (The latter feels a little forced, to be honest) And there’s an original, ‘Malaika’ that’s in Afrikkan, and the melody is touching even though I didn’t understand a word of it. I like Garber’s bravery – she definitely takes risks and this album challenges as much as it satisfies.

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