"A Love Story"
Midway through her impressive debut CD, when singer Vivian Green moves from contemporary R&B grooves to the torchy jazz atmospherics of "No Sittin' by the Phone," a mood softly accentuated by muted trumpet and brush-stroked rhythms, it suddenly becomes easy to understand why the 23 year-old Philly native has seen her name favorably linked to everyone from Alicia Keys to Anita Baker. A protege of Jill Scott and a recent opening act for Maxwell, Green has talent and promise to spare.
And not a little confidence, too. She had a hand in writing all the tunes on "A Love Story," a loose-knit song cycle of sorts, and though the strategy doesn't always pay off, "Wishful Thinking," "Emotional Rollercoaster" and "Final Hour" are distinctive enough to suggest that Green has a very rosy future. Her lyrics, which come across as naive, passionate and defiant by turns, serve her well for the most part, especially when she avoids the kind of repetitious rhapsodizing that make "Be Good to Me" and "Complete" sound far more tedious than hypnotic.
The tight focus on original songs also prevents Green from displaying her interpretative gifts and introducing a refreshing change of pace or two. But as debut albums go, "A Love Story" clearly marks a happy beginning.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Friday at the Black Cat. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Vivian Green, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8103. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)