Typhanie Monique and Neal Alger: Intrinsic

Another Chicago native deserving of much wider attention is Typhanie Monique. Teaming with monstrously talented guitarist Neal Alger, thus far best known for his spectacular work with Patricia Barber on Verse and A Fortnight in France, Monique graduates from her sublime days with Peking Turtle to serve up an eclectic mix of standards and contemporary classics on Intrinsic (BluJazz). Suggesting a modern spin on Sarah Vaughan accented with iridescent traces of Lena Horne, Monique expertly explores both the noirish depths of “Afro Blue” and bone-deep, soul-crushing heartbreak of W.C. Handy’s “Harlem Blues,” and she delivers a “Fever” that’s significantly slower burning than Peggy Lee’s but no less romantically intense. Great as such covers are, they pale in comparison to an exquisite pair of back-to-back nods to the Doors with first “Riders on the Storm” and then “Light My Fire.” On both, Monique swaps the haunted, youthful urgency of Jim Morrison’s vocals with a resigned maturity that proves more evocative.