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09/26/12

Susie Arioli
All the Way
Jazzheads Records

Montrealer Susie Arioli cites this, her seventh album, as the one with which she gets serious about jazz singing. Which apparently means getting generally darker and slower. Across the majority of these 13 tracks, Arioli settles into a moody, cocktail-hour groove that is equal parts Chet Baker and Julie London, though lacking the distinct sensuality of either. Which is not to suggest that All the Way is without merit. While Arioli’s fog-bound wistfulness lends nothing new to the title track, “My Funny Valentine” or “Time on My Hands,” it is ideally suited to ruminative readings of “Here’s That Rainy Day,” “There’s a Lull in My Life” and, most effectively, a gorgeously hazy “Forgetful.” Nor is the outing, propelled by the superior guitar work of Arioli’s career-long partner, Jordan Officer, cast entirely in shades of gray. There’s a bright, breezy “What a Difference a Day Makes” sung in French and an unexpectedly peppy “Looking for a Boy.”

Reshaping “Come Rain or Come Shine” as a lachrymose lament is an interesting experiment that doesn’t quite work. More compelling are Arioli’s strident, seemingly revenge-fueled handling of “When Your Lover Has Gone,” and her take on “Here’s to the Losers.” When Sinatra introduced it in 1964, it became a swinging exercise in noblesse oblige—the planet’s hippest guy offering benediction to lesser mortals. Arioli opts for a cooler, more empathetic approach, suggesting a been-there-done-that camaraderie with the lyric’s laundry list of social misfits.

Originally published in September 2012
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