December 2000

Denise Jannah
The Madness of Our Love
Blue Note Records

The third Blue Note release by this competent but strangely uncompelling singer finds her performing standards and three of her own compositions backed by a piano trio headed by pianist-music director Bert van den Brink.

Influenced by Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter, dark-voiced, Surinam-born Jannah energetically keeps pace with the tricky tempo shifts of van den Brink's "Dearly Beloved" and "My Favorite Things" charts, and projects several ballads, including a French translation of "The Shadow of Your Smile," with warmth, if not depth. Her originals lack melodic inspiration, and are encumbered by cliche-ridden, semi-literate lyrics (e.g., the title song's "It all comes down to you and I").

Jannah's improvisatory skills are unimpressive; a horn player who blew her lame second chorus on "Just You, Just Me" would probably be ushered off the bandstand. Further burdened by overworked material-there's little nourishment left on the bones of "Teach Me Tonight" and "My Foolish Heart"-Jannah gives her all but fails to rise above the general run of jazz-oriented vocal CDs.

Originally published in December 2000

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