Love Locked Out
Considering the unerring excellence of both MaxJazz's vocal and piano series, it makes utter sense that the vibrant St. Louis label initiates a vocal-piano series. And who better to carry the new torch than transplanted New Yorker Patti Wicks, now a pillar of the southern Florida jazz community. Though Wicks does have one previous album under her belt (1997's Room at the Top), it's a safe bet that Love Locked Out, a multifarious examination of love and loss, will win her the national and international attention she's long deserved. Blessed with a feather-light touch and huskiness that suggests Elaine Stritch by way of Chris Connor, Wicks traverses 14 standards that range from well worn ("Body and Soul," "It Never Entered My Mind"-the latter with all of the verses intact) to relatively untrammeled (British composer Duncan Lamont's magnificent "I Told You So" and his wonderfully wistful "Where Were You In April?"). She injects Cole Porter's deliciously double-edged "After You" with misty objectivity, celebrates the majesty of Marilyn and Alan Bergman with gossamer readings of "I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before" and "When Summer Turns to Snow" and, in what deserves to become Wicks' signature tune, rivals the bruised pathos of "Black Coffee" and "Something Cool" with her jaggedly disconsolate reading of Luiz Bonfa's "An Empty Glass."