Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions

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01/05/14    Albums

Say it Isn't So
Claire Martin & Richard Rodney Bennett

One of the most delightful collaborations in vocal jazz, that of Britain’s preeminent female vocalist Claire Martin and chameleonic British composer-arranger-pianist-sometime-vocalist Richard Rodney Bennett, ended with Bennett’s death last December at age...

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01/04/14    News

Diane Schuur to Preview New Album at Birdland

A double salute to Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra

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01/02/14    Gearhead

GearHead: Top Vocalists on Their Microphones of Choice

Kurt Elling, Kate McGarry and others weigh in on their favorites

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12/29/13    Albums

Absinthe & Vermouth
Fay Victor Ensemble

It’s difficult to imagine a better intoxicant than absinthe to describe fearless vocal abstractionist Fay Victor. The anise-flavored spirit gained favor in Paris in the early 20th century, among the sort of artistic iconoclasts—Wilde, Toulouse-Lautrec, Satie—who...

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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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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.