Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions

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12/27/13    Albums

Live to Love
Jacqui Dankworth

Though it is vocalist Jacqui Dankworth’s name above the title, her fifth album heralds the convergence of three of Britain’s foremost jazz practitioners, none of whom have gained nearly the Stateside attention they deserve. First is Dankworth herself, of...

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12/24/13    Albums

After Blue
Tierney Sutton

Timed to coincide with Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday, Tierney Sutton’s career-spanning homage has actually been marinating for more than a dozen years, ever since she heard Mitchell’s standards-focused Both Sides Now from 2000. It was, writes Sutton in her...

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12/20/13    Albums

Every Little Star
Abigail Riccards

Abigail Riccards has, across a decade-long career, mastered the increasingly endangered art of making less more. Her tone is crystalline, her phrasing crisp and her style lissome, its seeming effortlessness masking sharp interpretive skills. Think Doris...

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12/16/13    Albums

The Changing Lights
Stacey Kent

Six years ago, Stacey Kent strayed from the all-standards path with the multifarious Breakfast on the Morning Tram, taking her artistry to an exciting new level. Now, following detours for the all-French Raconte-moi and her first live album...

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12/08/13    Albums

Big Stuff: Afro Cuban Holiday
Venissa Santi

Many American jazz singers have explored Afro-Cuban grooves, though few with the authenticity of Venissa Santi. She began embracing her Cuban heritage while teaching at Philadelphia’s Asociacion de Musicos Latino Americanos, subsequently releasing the rumba...

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12/02/13    Albums

The Shadow of Your Smile
Roberta Gambarini

Between 2006 and 2009, Italian émigré Roberta Gambarini delivered a trio of albums that earned her widespread plaudits as the heir apparent to Ella or Sarah or both. Then … a deafening silence. A trickle of fresh Gambarini material did appear last year with...

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11/28/13    Albums

Nightsongs
Janis Siegel

Manhattan Transfer alto Janis Siegel’s first solo album in seven years is a valentine to interpretive artistry built around love songs old and new. Originally intended as a duets project with pianist John di Martino, NightSongs ultimately grew to include...

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11/24/13    Albums

The Standards
Gloria Estefan

The numerous pop and rock stars from the 1970s and ’80s who have dallied with the Great American Songbook tend to fall into one of two camps. There are the poseurs who have little appreciation for the music or its heritage and alter their vocal style nary...

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11/20/13    Albums

What I See
Judy Wexler

Though Judy Wexler’s reputation as one of the West Coast’s most compelling vocalists was cemented some time ago, What I See , her fourth release, suggests a heightened maturity, an even greater sense of assured imagination. Much like Abbey Lincoln—and at...

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11/16/13    Albums

Chet Lives!
Joe Barbieri

Of the myriad musical tributes marking the 25th anniversary of Chet Baker’s death, this one from Italian guitarist and vocalist Joe Barbieri is among the sincerest. His adoration of Baker is palpable throughout, particularly on the somewhat saccharine yet...

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11/15/13    Features

Five Operas or Oratorios That Swing

Jazz in the aria

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11/14/13    Albums

Liquid Spirit
Gregory Porter

Listening to Gregory Porter, it’s difficult to discern his most venerable quality. There’s the voice—that velvet-wrapped-gravel sound that is both arresting and transporting. There’s his unique way of sieving classic soul sensibilities—a melting pot of Sam...

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11/12/13    Albums

Umbrellas in Mint
Lisa Kirchner

Scan the covers of Lisa Kirchner’s six albums to date and the first thing you’ll note is that her flame-colored hair grows increasingly untamed. So, too, has her musicality grown steadily bolder and wilder. Serving up her first platter of all-original material...

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11/09/13    Albums

Simply Love
Halie Loren

She may not be the most adventurous interpreter around, rarely coloring too far outside the lines, but for sheer vocal beauty and old-school warmth, few among her contemporaries can match Halie Loren. There’s a subtle sultriness to Loren, more smoldering...

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11/06/13    Albums

Give Me the High Sign
Denise King & Olivier Hutman

Philly-based vocalist Denise King was doing just fine with her late-blooming career as a lush, soulful interpreter of standards. Then she met French pianist-arranger-composer Olivier Hutman. They initially teamed a dozen years ago in Paris, but it was their...

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11/03/13    Albums

Hands On
Sandy Sasso

The music business being what it is, artists increasingly need to be DIY experts. Case in point: New Jersey vocalist Sandy Sasso, who has established herself as a one-woman dynamo. Sasso not only sings on all 12 tracks of Hands On , but also served as executive...

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About Christopher Loudon

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When the rest of the baby-boomers were wrapped up in the Beatles and the Stones, Christopher Loudon was discovering Sinatra, Fitzgerald and Bennett. Since 2003, Loudon has critiqued upwards of 700 vocal albums in these pages and shaped about a dozen profiles, including Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, Harry Connick Jr., Roberta Gambarini, Jamie Cullum, Nancy Wilson, Curtis Stigers and Dianne Reeves.