By Jerome Wilson, All About Jazz

Emma Frank
Come Back
Justin-Time Records

Emma Frank operates in a nebulous realm that encompasses jazz, rock and folk. Her voice sounds natural and earnest as she works in close musical partnership with pianist Aaron Parks. Most of her songs have a wispy, bruised feel given body by the breathy melodicism of Frank’s voice. Her singing makes these little stories of hurt and disappointment into poetry.

There are subtle variations in the overall melancholic mood. Frank sings with a slight country inflection on “Either Way,” a song from the band Wilco. “See You” enlivens things with a rock backbeat and “Lilac”‘s bouncy folk rhythm leads to Frank bending her voice like Beth Orton or Joni Mitchell and Parks taking an extended piano solo. The most affecting song of the set may be the closing “Before You Go Away” with Frank singing unadorned but forceful before a gauzy curtain of guitar and synthesizer created by Pedro Barquinha.

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