Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions

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07/25/16    Albums

Upward Spiral
Branford Marsalis Quartet/Special Guest Kurt Elling

How did one of the best and most important jazz bands around—saxophonist Branford Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner—come to unite with one of the best and most important jazz vocalists? The idea ignited when...

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07/24/16    Albums

After Dark
Champian Fulton

The title is well chosen, as are the front- and back-cover images, both showcasing Champian Fulton draped in fur. The vocalist-pianist’s sixth album is late-night, smoky- boîte jazz of the highest caliber, its arrangements elegantly mink-wrapped. Featuring...

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07/23/16    Albums

Live at Montreux 1993
Al Jarreau

Clearly an audience favorite, Al Jarreau has made a dozen Montreux appearances to date. Twelve years prior to this 70-minute set from 1993, he was captured live, albeit briefly, alongside Randy Crawford at the venerable Swiss festival, their trio of duets...

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07/22/16    Albums

Songbook of the Americas
Kat Parra

Born in California, partially raised in Chile and deeply immersed in world music with particular emphasis on Latin and Afro-Cuban influences, vocalist Kat Parra is arguably the ideal ambassador to map a musical tour of the Americas. Though she bypasses the...

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07/18/16    Albums

Live in Athens, Greece
Mark Murphy

It’s hard to imagine more disparate vocalists than Shirley Bassey and Mark Murphy, but Greek guitarist Spiros Exaras, the driving force behind this 2008 club date, insists in the liner notes that among myriad gigs with international headliners only Bassey...

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07/17/16    Albums

Sound of Red
René Marie

That René Marie ranks among the most dynamic jazz vocalists around has been without question for quite some time. Now, with her first album of all-original material, Marie takes her A-game to a whole new level. The voice, of course, is spectacular: dark...

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07/16/16    Albums

Photographs
Mary Foster Conklin

As Mary Foster Conklin explains to Terry Teachout in the liner notes, she not only enjoys being caught in the eternal push-pull of jazz and cabaret but is defined by it. Marrying the spontaneity of jazz to the storytelling verve of cabaret, she plainly states...

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06/26/16    Albums

Take Me to the Alley
Gregory Porter

Whatever the discipline, whenever a star rises too far too fast there’s invariably backlash, a too-big-for-his-britches reset. Gregory Porter, his breakout velocity rivaled only by Cécile McLorin Salvant, is surely due. But judging by Take Me to the Alley...

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06/25/16    Albums

Jazz at the Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set
Ella Fitzgerald

Ella was a little late to the party. When impresario Norman Granz launched what would become his landmark series of Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts and tours in 1944, his all-star lineups included other vocalists, Billie Holiday among them. When he finally...

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06/24/16    Albums

Better Than Anything...Live
Sheila Jordan

Still going strong at 87, Sheila Jordan was a mere lass of 62 when San Francisco radio host Bud Spangler broadcasted this 60-minute set from Kimball’s East in Oakland in 1991. Just prior to his death in 2014, Spangler unearthed his radio check of the session...

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06/23/16    Albums

August Love Song
Heather Masse & Roswell Rudd

Though she was born and raised in Maine and studied vocal jazz at NEC, Heather Masse remains best known for her now decade-long membership in the Canadian folk/bluegrass trio the Wailin’ Jennys and her frequent appearances, with and without the group, on...

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06/22/16    Albums

Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin
Willie Nelson

Suggesting that Willie Nelson’s voice has aged is like saying a sequoia seems somehow gnarlier. Sure Nelson’s trademark sound has grown more grizzled, a bit more parched. But place this latest collection of standards aside his landmark Stardust , from 1978...

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06/03/16    Albums

The Judy Garland Project
Hilary Kole

Though her career touched four decades, Judy Garland released surprisingly few albums. None, save 1961’s landmark Judy at Carnegie Hall , were major successes; her recordings generated nowhere near the sales or acclaim of LPs by such contemporaries as Sinatra...

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05/31/16    Albums

Halfway There
M'Balia

If you number among the myriad vocal jazz fans bowled over by Cécile McLorin Salvant, prepare to be wowed anew, and in much the same way. Philadelphia’s M’Balia Singley has been singing since childhood, but postponed the launch of her professional career...

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05/28/16    Albums

United
Dena DeRose

Pianist-vocalist Dena DeRose and drummer Matt Wilson have been making beautiful music together for more than a decade and a half, nearly the entirety of her recording career. Their sublime rapport was, some nine years ago, expanded and intensified with the...

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05/25/16    Albums

He Was the King
Freddy Cole

Musically speaking, Freddy Cole has long maintained a rather schizophrenic relationship with his big brother. Freddy was only 33 when Nat died in 1965. Just starting to secure attention as a vocalist and pianist, he found himself overwhelmed by Nat’s giant...

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About Christopher Loudon

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