Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions


09/20/15    Albums

Form & Formless
Ellen Johnson

It’s hardly surprising that Ellen Johnson was specially selected by Bobby McFerrin to work with his Voicestra ensemble. When it comes to shaping wordless gems, Johnson packs as imaginative a wallop as the mighty McFerrin. An accomplished jazz educator, Johnson...


09/15/15    Albums

Shayna Steele

She’s backed Moby, Bette Midler and Kelly Clarkson, performed on Broadway, toured with Rihanna, recorded an EP and a full-length disc under her own steam and been hailed as an “R&B diva.” As she’s carved this circuitous path, Shayna Steele has also acquired...

09/08/15    Albums

Everything is Cool
Giacomo Gates

A latecomer to jazz as a vocation, Giacomo Gates cut his first album 20 years ago at age 45 and has since recorded just six more as a leader. But what he lacks in quantity he’s more than made up for in quality. A fervent acolyte of bebop, scat and vocalese...


09/03/15    Albums

Ariel Pocock

With its pairing of a neophyte vocalist-pianist with four jazz heavyweights, this album might better have been titled Post-Millennial All-Stars Featuring Ariel Pocock . Not that the 22-year-old Floridian can’t hold her own in the company of tenor saxophonist...


08/26/15    Albums

Tony Cimorosi & Saundra Silliman

Saundra Silliman may be the best-kept secret in jazz. As both a vocalist and actress, she’s been gigging around New York since the mid-1980s and has performed with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Lonnie Plaxico. But apart from a few MP3s on her outdated...


08/20/15    Albums

Bessie: Music From the HBO Film
Various Artists

In May, when HBO premiered Bessie , starring a sharply cast Queen Latifah as blues legend and vocal-jazz pioneer Bessie Smith, the company ensured it was as truthful as it was entertaining. The same high standards extend to the soundtrack. Latifah dominates...


08/14/15    Albums

Vinicius Canta Antonio Carlos Jobim
Vinicius Cantuária

According to bestselling author, psychologist, neuroscientist and musician Daniel J. Levitin, we all start to construct our personal musical boundaries at age 14 and have firmly set those parameters by age 24. So, for Brazilian singer, songwriter, guitarist...


08/10/15    Albums

Dee Dee's Feathers
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

It takes a keen-eared, fluidly adaptive performer to capture both the breadth and subtleties that define New Orleans’ musical landscape. Dee Dee Bridgewater, though born in a far different music hotbed, Memphis, and raised in Michigan, is just such an artist...


08/06/15    Albums

But For Now
Bob Dorough Trio

Few are the artists of any ilk who can boast a career comparable to that of Bob Dorough—one that not only touches seven decades but remains fresh and vital throughout. He ranks among jazz’s most revered insiders, admired and respected as a songwriter, singer...


08/02/15    Albums

2 in Love
David Benoit Featuring Jane Monheit

When smooth-jazz pioneer David Benoit, whose dense piano style seems to have arrived at the curious intersection of Vince Guaraldi and Liberace, teams with Jane Monheit, still the plumiest of jazz singers, the proceedings can get a little overripe. Though...


07/27/15    Albums

Passion World
Kurt Elling

Kurt Elling’s latest, his second with bassist Clark Sommers, drummer Kendrick Scott and guitarist John McLean, is also his first without pianist and arranger Laurence Hobgood. (Keyboardist Gary Versace now completes the ace quintet.) It’s a momentous turning...


07/22/15    Albums

Kitano Noir
Sara Serpa & Ran Blake

Apart from his landmark work with Jeanne Lee in the 1950s and early ’60s (and their brief but sublime reunion in the late ’80s), pianist Ran Blake has devoted little attention to vocalists. Until, that is, the current decade, as the Third Stream pioneer...


07/17/15    Albums

Currency of Man
Melody Gardot

Melody Gardot takes a couple of steps back and a couple forward with Currency of Man . The first retreating move, a most wise one, sees her reunited with producer Larry Klein, who steered 2009’s My One and Only Thrill to multi-platinum acclaim. Also, with...


07/09/15    Albums

Bathtub Gin
Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band

With her singularly enticing sound, equal parts Maria Muldaur mewl and breezy Blossom Dearie trill, few contemporary vocalists are as well suited to dustily vintage material as jazz-blues stylist Roberta Donnay. She affectively proved so three years ago...

07/01/15    Albums

Albums — June 2015

What began as a casual introduction at a rehearsal for a Grateful Dead tribute orchestra has blossomed into a fine pop-jazz partnership, and it only took two decades. The band was Joe Gallant’s Illuminati and, throughout their shared three-year stint in...


06/23/15    Albums

Feelin' Good
Mary Stallings

Navigating one of the greatest second acts in vocal-jazz history, San Francisco’s Mary Stallings burned bright in the ’60s, then disappeared for over a decade before triumphantly resurfacing in the ’80s. Five years ago she arrived at HighNote, where she’s...

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About Christopher Loudon