Kama Ruby “Mistake”
If you are like me, the first thing you’ll wonder about this particular artist is, “what kind of a name is ‘Kama Ruby’? Is that a band or group name or a person’s name?” So, I’ll answer that one for you right at the start of this review. Kama Ruby is, indeed, a person’s name. As Ruby explains on her website, “Well, it is my stage name. My parents gave me the Sanskrit name ‘Kama’, because….well, they were hippies, ok! “Ruby” was chosen in honor of my great grandma Ruby.”
With that duly out of the way, who is this performer who goes by the name Kama Ruby? She’s a jazz singer (her description) and an actress and dancer. As an actress she’s done everything from Shakespeare to musical theater. I think that the musical theater experience can be heard at varying points and in varying ways in her performances here. You might even be able to spot it in some of the musical arrangements.
The first song presented here is “Mistake.” That’s a musical piece that was originally done by the electronic or house music artist Moby. I find myself singing along every time I hear this song as its presented here. I guess that’s the true sign of a particularly catchy melody. Of course, that’s probably more about the song writing than it is about the performance. Even so, this is quite pretty and interesting in this rendition. I hear both jazz and electronic music built into it. Among the musicians on this song is pianist Mike Garson who played extensively for David Bowie over a number of years.
The other song included on this single is “Treasure Island.” The vocals on the number shake a bit too much for my tastes. That’s a well-known tradition in musical theater and jazz music, so technically it’s not a big problem. It just happens to be that it acts almost like the proverbial nails on a chalkboard for me. Beyond that it reminds me of Celine Dion in some ways. It’s a pretty song, but I like the first one better. Piano on this song is provided by Jane Getz. In addition to the piano, she also provides vocals on the song. Beyond that, Getz co-wrote the piece of music with Jon Strider.
From a jazz fan’s point of view, the participation of Getz is a big deal. She’s a bit of a big name in the world of music. She’s performed with legends ranging from Charles Mingus to Stan Getz, Roland Kirk and more. Outside of the jazz world, she’s on albums by artists from The Bee Gees, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, Rick and John Lennon. To some degree, her appearance here lends a certain credibility to this project. That said, the music is strong enough to not really need that extra boost.
If you like jazz-oriented music, you will find good stuff here. It’s obvious that Ruby has a lot of talent. It’s also readily apparent that she has a love for this kind of music, bringing a real fire and passion to it. Those things go a long way to elevating this music.