Album Review of
Love Life Choices

Written by Joe Ross
June 18, 2021 - 2:13am EDT
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Rebecca Angel makes a splendid splash on her full-length album debut Love Life Choices with ten tracks that display the talent and versatility of the twenty-something vocalist from New York. Angel’s repertoire includes songs from jazz, soul, pop and Brazilian music. Some, like Jobim’s “Corcovado” and “Waters of March” are standard fare for cabaret vocalists, and she also shows confidence with songs from other genres such as Sade’s “Maureen,” Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us” and Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain.”  The album opens with a rousing version of Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth” that also features her father, Dennis Angel, on trumpet.  Dennis introduced his daughter to jazz, they both share a passion for that music, and Rebecca studied vocal jazz at Ithaca College. Angel also sings background vocals on several tracks, and Maya Azucena and Pamela Driggs vocalize on others.

For ten years, producer, keyboardist and synth bassist Jason Miles has helped the young vocalist hone her craft and develop a style that allows her to own these songs. Miles assembled a cast of first-class accompanists, and Love Life Choices has a clarion sound of tight arrangements and grooving music. Colorings of tastefully-rendered guitar, flugelhorn, sax, flute and keyboards embellish the music without detracting from the singer’s messages. Miles’ self-penned “Side by Side” conveys a strong message of strength through togetherness.  It’s also impressive that Angel added lyrics to Erik Satie’s modern classical canon, “Gymnopédie No. 1” (retitled “Till Now” here), and she also penned both music and lyrics for the two album closers, “Thoughts and Prayers” and “Summer Song (Electro Remix).” Her husband, Jonah Prendergast, also had a hand in composing “Side by Side,” and he appears playing guitar on “Thoughts and Prayers.”

Rebecca Angel takes a contemporary approach towards her music, and she appears to choose material that represents where she’s at musically and personally. She sings with a charming mystique, a youthful exuberance, and a sophisticated affability that allows her to find her own style and voice. The album’s preparation was a ten-month pandemic project, and Love Life Choices yields a bountiful reward of jazz and pop panache. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)