I remember reading a long time ago that Oleta Adams was discovered in a small dive singing an expanded soul/jazz version of Brenda Russell’s ‘Get Here.’ She was discovered by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith of the pop duo Tears For Fears and was invited to sing/open on their current tour. And the rest, as they say, is history with her hitting it big with her own version of ‘Get Here.’
I have always fantasized about her own long meandering soulful version of that song and when I saw her new release titled ‘The Third Set,” I thought my dreams were coming true. usually, the third set is one musicians play for themselves and others, where they feel not encumbered by singing crowd-pleasing numbers. But alas, my hopes were shattered when I saw the song list. I did see that she has acoustic versions of ‘Evolution’ and ‘Circle Of One’ so I thought to myself this is not as disappointing. There are parts I like a lot – her upbeat ‘It’s Alright With Me,’ is uniquely hers and ‘Only The Lonely’ is great but the rest just plods. Maybe I need to be in a right mood – sipping a glass of whiskey, perhaps – to fully get this record but I have played it a couple of times already and it has not caught with me. Perhaps the key is seeing her live – some friends saw her at a jazz club recently and they were raving. Sometimes a record cannot capture the magic, however one tries.