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04/19/13

Heather Masse & Dick Hyman
Lock My Heart
Red House

One of the unique joys of jazz is how often, and how seamlessly, cross-generational artists mix. The May-December pairing of vocalist Heather Masse and legendary pianist Dick Hyman is a fine example. Though Masse is best known for her folk and bluegrass work with the Wailin’ Jennys and the Wayfaring Strangers, she is a New England Conservatory-trained jazz singer with a long-term interest in the Great American Songbook. She and Hyman met during a joint appearance on A Prairie Home Companion and immediately began planning this collaboration.

Across 10 standards, Masse exhibits impeccable phrasing and a lush sound that suggests the sensuousness of Sophie Milman shot through with somber, Sarah Vaughan threads. She has an enticing ability to float above each tune, her flight patterns favoring lazy circles and gentle roils, free of dramatic soars or swoops. Hyman responds with elegant accompaniment dotted with imaginative touches—a hint of doo-wop behind “Since I Fell for You,” the august suggestion of vast night skies on “Lost in the Stars,” half-contented sighs painted beneath “I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good).”

To complete the 12-track playlist, Masse adds two originals, the tenderly wishful “If I Called You” and, with Hyman alternately tip-toeing and roundly pacing, the charming late-sleeper anthem “Morning Drinker.”

Originally published in April 2013
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