In the right hands, a saxophone can switch from sultry to soothing to funky.
In the right hands, a saxophone can switch from sultry to soothing to funky. Those moods and more punctuate Pamela Williams' third outing, which finds her adding her seldom-heard vocals to the mix. This follow-up to Williams' 1996 debut, Saxtress, and 1998 sophomore set, Eight Days of Ecstasy, jumps to life with the jazz-funked first cut "Lifeline," a chilled-down version of which ("Pamela's Pulse") caps this set. From there, Williams retraces her R&B/jazz roots but then takes five to credibly explore her Latin ("Placero") and folky sides ("Poison"). While Williams also has a talent for penning/co-penning original compositions and unearthing album gems such as Roy Ayers' "Vibrations" and the Michael Henderson/Roberta Flack chestnut "At the Concert" (both circa 1977), her vocal prowess isn't on the same par. Her strong suit: letting her sax do the talking—and singing—as it does on the Teena Marie-fronted "I Am Love."—GM