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May 1998

Janet Lawson
The Janet Lawson Quintet
Cambria Master Recordings

One of the really quality people in the jazz vocal ranks, singer Janet Lawson possesses a sense of clean articulation and sure-footed tonality. This CD is a compilation reissue of two vinyl items from Ms. Lawson's quizzically brief catalogue; namely The Janet Lawson Quintet from 1981 on Inner City Records, and her 1983 date for OmniSound, Dreams Can Be.

Comfortably ensconced in the Poconos area where Phil Woods and Dave Liebman among other jazzers have found their ideal environment, Lawson is one of those singers who has made her mark mainly in vocal education.

Accompanied here by pianist Bill O'Connell, bassist Ratzo Harris (what's become of him?), drummer Jimmy Madison and saxophonist Roger Rosenberg, this is a jazz proud recording that holds up well in the jazz vocal tradition. An adept scat singer- dig her on "Jitterbug Waltz"-Lawson never overdoes that generally overrated skill, instead lending an ebullient spirit and investing good measures of warmth in a program of familiars. The lone wildcard piece is Mingus' "Better Get Hit In Your Soul," which this listener doesn't recall done vocally before.

Originally published in May 1998
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