Reviews and Testimonials of "Mind's Eye" by Kama Ruby
Kama Ruby is one of the most talented artists I have worked with. She can do wonders with a song and has the ability to dazzle her audience in a live performance. Her voice is pure magic, AND she is a pleasure to work with! Her new CD is inspiring, a work of art and so intriguing you will listen again and again.
Jane Getz Producer, Pianist, Vocalist, and Songwriter
“Wow, Kama, thanks for covering “Ride Me Like A Wave”!! I love it when another artist does a totally different take on my work – just great.”
Comments on Kama Rubys’ Cover of “Ride Me Like a Wave.”
Janis Ian- Grammy Winning Singer, Musician, and Songwriter
Kama constantly challenges herself to improve her work and her life. She’s a great motivator and an inspiration to those around her. As a fellow artist, she’s authentic and disciplined. Always looking to refine her craft and work from a place of authenticity and courage. There’s always a creativity and drive in her work. I love and admire that about Kama.
Head of Movement: Art of Acting Studio Actor, Director, Producer
“Kama’s unique voice is a beautiful blend of sexiness and heart. She stirs emotions from deep within and is the perfect accompaniment for a glass of wine shared over a romantic meal.”
Sarah Norris Artistic Director –
Access Theater Founding Artistic Director – New Light Theater Project
“Her folk/pop-infused jazz evokes emotional memories of artists from Stevie Nicks to Billie Holiday. Her album, “Mind’s Eye,” includes a captivating cover of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust,” as well as a version of Moby’s “Mistake,” with hypnotic vocals and sparkling piano licks. This album delivers.”
Nate Bynum, Co-Head of Performance at UNLV.
Linda Lister, Director of Opera at UNLV.
This single comes in anticipation of Kama Ruby’s third album. Her previous albums helped to establish a sound that’s based heavily on jazz traditions, but manages to stretch beyond them by incorporating other types of music into the mix. The songs here are really great examples of that type of musical conception.
While this might be a remake of the classic Moby song, Ruby manages to make it all her own. Based on the torch song tradition (more on that in a moment), “Mistake” has a modern element in the arrangement. The music is solid and works pretty well. It’s not my kind of thing, though. The cut does feature the piano work of Mike Garson, who is best known for his extensive work with David Bowie.
It’s actually quite appropriate for that song to be delivered in a torch song style. In general the style refers to one person holding a “torch” for another person who has left them. The lyrics to the piece speak to that kind of tradition. Since in general, torch songs are sung by women, it wouldn’t apply to the original version. Just having a woman singing the song brings it closer to the definitive label. Then, when you add a jazz style to the music, it becomes an obvious fit. To me, that makes this an excellent of example of how an artist can reframe a song from another artist and make it their own. Obviously Moby couldn’t do it as a torch song, even though it had that potential.
The second song of this single is “Treasure Island.” While the performance here feels a little over the top, it is a pretty song with a folk music turned adult contemporary sound. Again, this song isn’t one that Ruby wrote. It was penned Jane Getz and Jon Strider. Getz actually handles the piano and provides some vocals on this rendition.
In general, this isn’t the kind of thing I would listen to. That said, it’s not without its merits or charms. There must be a market for this kind of music. In fact, I’m sure there is. I just don’t fall into that market.
Kama Ruby – “Mistake” single
Kama Ruby is originally from Bakersfield, California. She’s been a performer since she was small child. She deftly plies that trade these days as a jazz singer. That’s not her only performing outlet, though. She also performs as an actress and as a dancer. This new two-song single is presented as a part of the publicity push for her new full album.
The new set is her third album. It follows the debut “Kama Ruby, Straight-up & Chilled” and its follow-up “Kama Ruby: Rock Dreams in Jazz.” You might guess from her description as a jazz singer (along with the titles to the albums) that a lot of Ruby’s sound is truly rooted in jazz. That’s a safe bet, and fairly accurate. She brings in a number of other musical styles, though. In other words, this is not pure jazz by my definition, really. Of course, jazz these days is a wide-palette that encompasses a lot of things, so you might disagree with that call depending on your own personal definition. That’s one thing interesting about musical styles. There is a real personal dynamic to where the lines are drawn from one sound to another.
The main song to this single is “Mistake.” Well, at least it’s the titular song. A big chunk of that is on the mellow side. I like the bass that dances around in the backdrop of it quite a bit. The music gets into some jazzier treatments as it moves forward. It has an almost modern progressive rock edge to it in some ways. It makes me think of Sonja Kristina and Marvin Ayres’ project Mask at times.
The “B-side” (is that still a thing?) of this is “Treasure Island.” With a guitar based arrangement, the cut seems to focus even more on that progressive rock sort of arrangement. The vocals make me think of Annie Haslam a bit. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to picture Renaissance doing this song.
I really like the nods and connections to progressive rock that I can hear here. I suppose those links might be less about this music and more about the connections, though. I mean, the Ayres/Kristina act I mentioned focuses a theatrical, artsy electronic edge. Perhaps the comparison to that sound here is more about the electronic nature of the music than it is about a real musical reference point.
When I made the mention of Renaissance, to a large degree that’s more about the vocals than it is anything else. That said, there is a certain folk music tradition that seems represented by the song structure itself. That’s the same kind of sound that Renaissance often turned to progressive rock through their particular interpretations.
Whether you hear the progressive rock in this or not, the mix of sounds here is intriguing. To call it strictly jazz, I think would be doing it a disservice. There is a lot of jazz here, but it’s more as a musical reference point, contributing factor, that it is a definition. The music may start with a jazz concept, but it’s not limited by it. All in all, this is a solid sampling of intriguing music.
G. W. Hill
Kama Ruby – “Mistake” single
I’ve not heard of Kama Ruby before. I’m always on the look-out for interesting and effective female performers, so I feel that I’ve been missing out on something worthwhile. This single features a couple new songs from the artist in anticipation of her third album. Kama Ruby’s sound has a lot of nods to jazz traditions, but doesn’t seem tied to that type of sound. She manages to work wonders in a musical zone that wanders around it. I guess you could say that she does that in a similar way to Steely Dan, but this doesn’t sound like Steely Dan. It just occupies a similar jazz-inspired territory.
With “Mistake,” Ruby creates her own version of a Moby tune. There is a lot of real emotion built into the lyrics and her vocal delivery on this version helps to realize that. The music here seems to flirt with jazz, but it has more of a tendency toward electronic music.
Of course, if you set this version alongside the original, it’s positively pure jazz. I tend to think that the electronic elements here are more of an homage to the sound of Moby’s version of the song. They do bring a different depth and character to it when paired with those jazzy components.
The other cut of this single is “Treasure Island.” While Ruby didn’t write the song, (Jane Getz and Jon Strider did) I think that aspect of this song deserves some attention. In fact, I think the lyrical aspect is particularly impressive. The song is based on the Robert Louis Stevenson book at its heart. The clever twist to it, though, is that those references are laid out as a metaphor for more personal real life situations. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an original version of this, assuming there is one, but based on those lyrics I’d be interested in checking it out.
Musically “Treasure Island” is generally a mellower piece of music. The vocals are clear and soaring. Ruby shows that she has the pipes to really deliver some stunning vocal work. While I prefer the first song to this one, there are certainly selling points to this one.
I’m definitely interested in hearing the whole new album from Kama Ruby. I find the sounds here have piqued my interest. I’ll be looking into her earlier releases, too. She has a lot of talent, and I like her style.
Mary Angela Tobin
Kama Ruby “Mistake”
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.