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April 2004

Ernestine Anderson
Love Makes the Changes
HighNote Records

Joining such vocal-jazz thoroughbreds as Mark Murphy, Carol Sloane and Chris Connor, septuagenarian Ernestine Anderson is a welcome addition to HighNote's stellar stable of elder masters. On Love Makes the Changes, Anderson's exquisite voice, smooth as buttered rum, is deeper and huskier than we remember it from her long ago salad days at Mercury or even her 1980s resurgence at Concord but is no less alluring. Wisely choosing songs best served with a side of mellow maturity, Anderson delivers an "It's Easy to Remember" delicately frosted with a lifetime of joys and disappointments and an "On the Sunny Side of the Street" that suggests a true appreciation for the priceless intangibles that can make you feel "rich as Rockefeller." "So Long," a World War II paean to departing servicemen, is reshaped as a sweetly reflective "adieu" to past paramours. "This Time the Dream's On Me" sparkles with hard-won wisdom, and her sagacious "The Party's Over" is blessedly free of remorse and regret. Her peppery "Everybody Eats When They Come to My House" proves there's plenty of fire left in the Anderson kitchen and that she's still cookin' with gas. More gorgeously indicative of her cunning tenacity, however, is a spectacular "Pieces of a Dream" that is at once as fragile as a hummingbird's wing and as formidable as cast iron.

Originally published in April 2004
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