Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions

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03/16/14    Albums

Genevieve & Ferdinand
Kate McGarry & Keith Ganz

Vocalist Kate McGarry’s singular skill at interweaving pop, folk and jazz has been evident since her recording debut a dozen years ago. But in 2006, with the Grammy-nominated If Less Is More … Nothing Is Everything , she advanced to a higher plateau. Not...

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03/11/14    Albums

Little Warrior
Lisa Engelken

Lisa Engelken’s Little Warrior does precisely what a good sophomore album should: build upon a solid base (her 2010 debut, Caravan ) while growing more adventurous and, by extension, more original. Working with a superb West Coast rhythm section—bassist...

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03/09/14    Albums

Space and Time
Nicky Schrire

Two years ago, newcomer Nicky Schrire made an auspicious (if underappreciated) debut with Freedom Flight , a collection of jazz standards, pop covers and originals all supported by a full band. For her sophomore release, again spanning standards, pop and...

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03/07/14    Albums

Duets: 20th Anniversary Edition
Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra was 77 when he recorded Duets in 1993, and though a companion collection and one final studio album would follow, it truly was his last hurrah. He was back at Capitol Studios, the setting for his landmark 1950s sessions. The tunes were among...

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03/01/14    Albums

Strings Attached
Christine Ebersole

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of vocalists have sung with strings, but you can count the number of voice-and-violin jazz albums on one hand and have several fingers left over. Which makes this warm pairing of actress and singer Christine Ebersole and wunderkind...

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02/23/14    Albums

In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention: Live at 54 Below
Laura Benanti

These days, the best place to catch music on Broadway is at the intimate 54 Below, opened 18 months ago by four theatre producers in the cellar space underneath what was once Studio 54. The majority of headliners are top names from big-ticket musical comedies...

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02/17/14    Albums

Halfway Between Heaven & Love
Suzanna Smith

There are relatively few contemporary female vocalists who evoke Peggy Lee, at least not genuinely. Suzanna Smith, new to recording but a seasoned pro who has been honing her artistry in and around the Bay Area for over a decade, numbers among that rare...

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02/07/14    Albums

Beautiful Life
Dianne Reeves

Proof, yet again, of the dismal state of the music industry: It’s taken five years for Dianne Reeves to release a new album following her departure from Blue Note Records. But there is also plenty of good news associated with her delayed return. She’s landed...

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02/01/14    Albums

Back to Brooklyn
Barbra Streisand

You can take the singer out of Brooklyn but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the singer. Or so this CD/DVD concert set is intended to prove, as Barbra Streisand returns for a one-night-only homecoming at the new Barclays Center. To drive the point home, Streisand...

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01/29/14    Albums

The Complete Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald Decca Sessions (1934-1941)
Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald

This eight-disc collection, spanning 187 tracks and a dozen years (stretching wider than the title suggests), can be appreciated on several levels. First, there is drummer and bandleader Chick Webb, a remarkable figure who, the result of spinal tuberculosis...

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01/22/14    Albums

Steppin' Out
Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert was there, playing a pivotal role, when fusion begat smooth-jazz. And, it seems, he’s never left. From the opening “Puttin’ on the Ritz” to the reworking of “The Lonely Bull,” Alpert’s career-igniting 1962 hit with the Tijuana Brass, Steppin’...

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01/21/14    Albums

Live In NYC
Gretchen Parlato

If the arresting purity of Gretchen Parlato’s voice, so ethereal yet so substantial, isn’t proof enough of her preeminent place among contemporary jazz singers, then judge her by the company she keeps. Since her arrival on the New York scene a decade ago...

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01/20/14    Albums

West Coast Strings
Diane Hubka

Though born and raised on the East Coast, where she honed her skills under the tutelage of Anne Marie Moss, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, Barry Harris, Howard Alden and Bill Bittner, singer-guitarist Diane Hubka has always exuded a more distinctly West Coast...

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01/16/14    Albums

PiANO
Tony DeSare

Two years in the making, vocalist-pianist Tony DeSare’s intriguing venture into sonic experimentation began soon after he took delivery of a Yahama Disklavier DC3 piano. Working on an arrangement of “You Give Love a Bad Name” in his apartment studio, DeSare...

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01/14/14    Features

Overdue Ovation: Singer Ed Reed

Straightened up and flying right

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01/12/14    Albums

Reincarnation
Mary LaRose

The ferocity of her explorations might suggest otherwise, but everything vocal innovator Mary LaRose does is carefully, meticulously calculated. The cover image for Reincarnation , with everything in sharp focus except LaRose herself, can be taken as a metaphor...

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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.