San Diego music mainstay Allison Adams Tucker isn't kidding when she describes herself as a "world jazz singer."
As her third and newest album, "WANDERlust," handily reaffirms, she can sing with equal skill and poise in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Japanese. Recorded in New York, the alluring "WANDERlust" teams her with such luminaries as Chicago saxophonist Chris Potter, Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lumbambo.
They elevate her music with a winning combination of poise and panache, and she easily holds her own alongside them. The production by Brad Mehldau/Jane Monheit veteran Matt Pierson is warm and inviting, placing an equal emphasis on Tucker and her skilled accompanists, while serving the music at hand with a steady, sensitive hand.
Tucker is not a flashy vocalist, which is all for the better. Singing with taste and nuance are her strong suits, and both qualities are showcased on this 11-song outing.
A lesser artist might seem gimmicky jumping from language to language, but Tucker makes it feel natural and unforced. She also sounds equally at home whether essaying a Brazilian classic (Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Aguas De Marco") or a more recent gem (Pat Metheny's "Better Days Ahead"), and when putting her spin on songs from non-jazz sources (Bjork's "Wanderlust," Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years," the Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory chestnut "Pure Imagination."
For her Friday U.S. tour kickoff show here, Tucker will sing with a quintet featuring ace guitarist Peter Sprague, who alternates with Lumbambo in singer Dianne Reeves' band. There will be a multimedia aspect to her performance, Tucker promises, but she doesn't need any non-musical elements to shine.