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July/August 2003

Rhonda Thomas
Guess Who I Saw Today!
String Jazz

Rare is the vocalist who can navigate the jazz-blues axis with the burnished grace of Rhonda Thomas, combining the authority of Aretha Franklin, the uncensored lubricity of Dinah Washington and the springy sass of Carla Thomas. The Atlanta seductresses' Guess Who I Saw Today! (String Jazz) marks her long overdue reunion with guitarist Michael Coppola. After a decade-long professional separation, Thomas and Coppola got together in Connecticut and laid down the album's 11 tracks in less than three hours. You'd swear from the results that they'd never been apart for more than 10 minutes. Taking things easy off the top, Thomas tiptoes through a velvety "The End of a Love Affair" then wades through a fizzy "Girl From Ipanema." They're merely a prelude to the coquettish allure of "Miss Celie's Blues," the free-spirited gallop of "Straighten Up and Fly Right" and a distinctly Holidayesque "Good Morning Heartache." By the time Thomas and Coppola get to their tender rendition of "That's All," you'll have your fingers crossed that it doesn't take another decade to get them back into the studio.

Originally published in July/August 2003
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