We Belong Together – Alex Henderson, All Music Guide (AMG)
Southport Records has often been great about turning the spotlight on talented Chicago jazz artists who were little known outside of their city. In 1996, one such artist was Linda Tate, an expressive and charming singer whose main influences include Sarah Vaughan and Dianne Reeves. Although Tate hasn’t escaped the influence of R&B and pop, We Belong Together is a jazz CD first and foremost. This CD contains a few warhorses that have been recorded countless times (including “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” and “I’m Beginning to See the Light”), but on the whole, Tate is insightful enough to make less obvious selections. Milton Nascimento’s “Bridges” (for which she embraces Gene Lees’ thoughtful lyrics), Chick Corea’s “Sea Journey” and Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” are hardly songs that have been done to death by jazz singers, and one has to admire Tate for have the guts to tackle “Somewhere,” a gem by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein (whose challenging songbook has scared away more than a few jazz artists). Not fantastic, but decent and sometimes risk-taking, We Belong Together indicated that Tate was someone to be aware of.