Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions

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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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01/08/14    Albums

Burstin' Out
Chicago Jazz Orchestra with Cyrille Aimee

If you follow jazz news, you’ve surely heard of Cyrille Aimée, the French-born chanteuse who took top honors at last year’s inaugural Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and got third place at the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals...

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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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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.