Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions


06/13/15    Albums

Out of My Dreams
Joanne Tatham

Peter Erskine’s sparkling drum solo, ushering in the breezy McCoy Tyner-Sammy Cahn confection “You Taught My Heart to Sing,” seems a perfect introduction to vocalist Joanne Tatham. Blessed with impeccable phrasing and a meticulous sense of time, Tatham projects...


06/10/15    Albums

A Clear Midnight: Kurt Weill and America
Julia Hulsmann Quartet with Theo Bleckmann

Whether Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong, one of those names leaps immediately to mind at the mention of “Mack the Knife.” All of their versions are distinctly great, yet none is even remotely sinister, which is odd for a song about a remorseless...


06/05/15    Albums

Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday
Jose James

Once in a great while there comes along an album that you know at first spin is one for the ages. José James’ Yesterday I Had the Blues , his triumphant homage to Billie Holiday at her centenary, numbers among that precious ilk. In the liner notes James...


05/30/15    Albums

Salutes Johnny Mercer: Live at Birdland
John Pizzarelli

As John Pizzarelli albums go, Salutes Johnny Mercer seems a decidedly low-key endeavor, released on his own, small label with little fanfare. And yet it delivers in spades everything one expects from the perennially affable guitarist and vocalist: intense...


05/26/15    Albums

Chris McNulty

As vocalist Chris McNulty explains in the liner notes, it took one tragedy to enable her to musically address another. The Australian expat was in New York when Hurricane Sandy struck, and she remained housebound—no power, no water—for eight days. Such intense...


05/19/15    Albums

Slow Motion Miracles

In recent years, much has been made of the steady migration of aging pop and rock stars toward jazzier pastures, with continual raids (and more than the occasional pillage) of the Great American Songbook. Significantly less attention has been paid an opposite...


05/11/15    Albums

Lonely City
Allegra Levy

Discovering a fresh, dynamic jazz voice is always a delight. When the singer proves an equally gifted songwriter, the pleasure is squared. Allegra Levy is one such double-barreled talent. The recent New England Conservatory grad, a crystalline alto with...


05/09/15    Albums

The Origin of Adjustable Things
Joanna Wallfisch with Dan Tepfer

She’s a British vocalist with a rich musical pedigree: a cellist mother, a violinist father, a brother who’s an opera singer, another a film composer and her still-vibrant 88-year-old grandmother, who survived the Nazi death camps as a member of the Women’s...


04/30/15    Albums

Made in Brazil
Eliane Elias

Across a recording career now entering its third decade, Eliane Elias has often strayed from her Brazilian roots, but never terribly far. Still, it’s been a while since the sensuous vocalist and pianist has released an album quite as musically patriotic...


04/23/15    Albums

Afro Blue
Harold Mabern

Though elder statesman Harold Mabern’s blocky, aggressive piano style may seem better suited to the small army of horn players he’s worked with—from Miles, Ornette and Freddie Hubbard to George Coleman and Eric Alexander—it’s worth remembering that Mabern’s...


04/19/15    Albums

Diana Krall

Over the years, the career-arc similarities of Diana Krall and Nat King Cole have often been cited: how Krall, like Cole, started out as purely a jazz pianist; how singing was, at first, strictly a sideline; and how vocal prowess proved the catalyst for...


04/16/15    Albums

Shadows in the Night
Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan never has been, and never will be, a jazz singer. But when an artist of his stature and history decides to record an entire album of standards, it demands attention. Shadows in the Night has been widely ballyhooed as Dylan’s “Sinatra project,”...


04/08/15    Albums

The Currency is Heat
Shelley Neill

It’s hard to figure what the title of vocalist Shelley Neill’s latest disc, her sixth to date, is meant to convey. The closest to real heat that rises from this collection of jazz-steeped pop covers is an “At Last” that pales in comparison to the blistering...


04/07/15    Albums

Coming Forth by Day
Cassandra Wilson

Though it’s disheartening to realize that even an artist as eminent as Cassandra Wilson had to turn to PledgeMusic to fund her centenary salute to Billie Holiday, it’s best to set aside such state-of-things ponderings and focus on the outcome. Which is...


04/05/15    Albums


From the 1930s through the early ’60s, female vocal trios remained a fixture on pop charts and airwaves. Come the British Invasion, then the singer-songwriter era, those tight and breezy harmonies fell out of favor. Across the past four decades there have...


04/03/15    Albums

With Love to Ella and Joe
Adrienne West With Alessio Menconi

Ella Fitzgerald’s years at Verve, largely under the expert guidance of Norman Granz, remain her most celebrated. Yet only once during that period was she provided the opportunity to record with just guitar. On “Wait Till You See Her,” off 1956’s Sings the...

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About Christopher Loudon