Shahida Nurullah at the Blue LLama Jazz Club

Detroiters Shahida Nurullah and Good Company paid a relatively rare visit to Ann Arbor on Friday, November 7. In my mind you cannot find a better jazz vocalist in this area than Nurullah. She simply excels in so many ways.

SEMJA Review

Nurullah has a wide repertoire from unusual standards like the humorous “I Can Cook Too” by Leonard Bernstein (from “On the Town”), and some more familiar fare like Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” which she sang at a very languid tempo, giving it a definite seductive touch. She excelled on ballads like Vernon Duke’s “Autumn in New York” and Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain,” and showed her bebop chops on Monk’s “In Walked Bud.” Nurullah was equally comfortable on Sophie Tucker’s 1910/1926 “Some of These Days” and Jobim’s “Triste.”

Throughout this sweep of the jazz repertoire Nurullah was backed expertly by Ian Finkelstein’s piano. Finkelstein is a remarkable pianist who must have learned a lot from playing behind trumpeter Marcus Belgrave in the last phase of his long career. It is well known that Belgrave was the premier mentor for many young players in this area.

The trio was rounded out nicely by Jaribu Shahid on bass and Sean Dobbins on drums.