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December 2003

Jackie Ryan
This Heart of Mine

Jackie Ryan is the Rita Hayworth of jazz, her natural sensuousness and bold inhibition as fiery as her luxurious red locks. On This Heart of Mine (OpenArt), the Irish-Mexican chanteuse's sublime follow-up to last year's Passion Flower, Ryan delivers 14 tracks recorded at three different sessions, each showcasing a different piano-bass-drum trio (occasionally augmented by such special guests as Toots Thielemans, Ernie Watts and Barry Zweig). Explaining which assortment of sidemen goes with which track is a logistical nightmare. Suffice it to say that the results are consistently wonderful. I like the cheerfulness she brings to "A Sleepin' Bee," the steam she adds to "East of the Sun" (who knew it could be so sultry?), the unbridled elation of a "Jump for Joy" that manages to rival both Mark Murphy's and Johnny Mathis'. I like the way her "When I Grow too Old to Dream" oozes with satisfied self-confidence, and I cheer her blistering blend of "Come Back to Me" and "Lover Come Back to Me." Heck, I like everything about this multifarious, multilingual disc. I only wish it would go multiplatinum.

Originally published in December 2003
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