It is known that I am not a big fan of vocal jazz, but what made me listen was seeing the words “Mighty Mighty” on the cover. This happens to be my favorite Earth, Wind & Fire song, so I immediately went in to see and hear what Nicolas Bearde is all about. I’m glad I did take a chance on Visions (Right Groove).
While primarily performing jazz, Bearde is someone who goes beyond the boundaries of that genre and also brings in elements of soul and gospel into what he does, with the gospel side being brought forth in his cover of Eugene McDaniels’ “Compared To What” (made famous by Eddie Harris & Les McCann). As for “Mighty Mighty”, he arranges it in the same fashion Doug Carn did on the album he made for Blackjazz and by doing so, allows the song to be heard in a different perspective than the soul/funk vibe the original did. Bearde also takes songs like “Everything Must Change”, “You’re Sensational”, and “Misty” and makes them shine with the great voice that he has, and by ending the album with the title track, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Visions”, it is almost his way of thanking the listeners for coming to the album, in the hopes they will listen to it again. With a voice that shows the riches of vocalists from the 60’s and 70’s (George Benson and Herb Fame immediately came to mind), Bearde is someone that shows maturity and wisdom not only in how he sings, but who he is influenced by. Someone might say he would be “a singer’s singer”, and you can take that as you want, but Bearde is someone who excels in what he does because he knows what he’s doing.