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June 2004

Diane Witherspoon
L.A. After Dark
Summit

Perhaps Diane Witherspoon is to Los Angeles what Lorraine Feather is to New York. Witherspoon seems, like Feather, extremely gifted at refreshing instrumental standards with contemporary lyrics. Unlike Feather, her words aren't her own. On L.A. After Dark (Summit), Witherspoon leaves, as she did 5 years ago on the sterling Cedar Walton homage You May Never Know, the rhyming to the brother and sister team of John and Paula Hackett (though she does supply the music for one track, the breezy, Motown-flavored "Music Brings You Back.") There are two nods to Teddy Edwards compositions (both punctuated with masterful sax solos from Edwards himself), another pair to Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and two more to Harry "Sweets" Edison. Witherspoon, whose phrasing and intonation owes a huge debt to Nancy Wilson, handles the tricky curves of each with the dexterous skill of an L.A. motorist.

Originally published in June 2004
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