January/February 2003

Terry Blaine with Mark Shane
Lonesome Swallow
Jukebox Jazz

Terry Blaine has a desire to rescue vintage American songs from extinction. For nearly two decades she has, usually in the splendid company of pianist Mark Shane, been mining the songbooks of Fats Waller, Andy Razaf and such with impressive results. Her subtly risque style is infectious, blending the white-glove nonchalance of Lee Wiley with the earthy sauciness of Ethel Waters. Blaine's latest collection, Lonesome Swallow (Jukebox Jazz), her first with only Shane's honky-tonk exuberance for accompaniment, is typically vivid. From a starchily prim "Memories of You," playfully handled with Sunday morning piety, to the slap-and-tickle purr of "My Handy Man," she remains a storyteller par excellence. The majesty of Blaine's voice is, however, most evident when she forgoes playacting for straightahead romanticism on tender, reflective readings of "I'm Glad There Is You" and "100 Years From Today."

Originally published in January/February 2003
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