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04/01/14

Lauren Kinhan
Circle In a Square
Dotted i

Lauren Kinhan is, as both a longstanding member of New York Voices and a solo artist, a tremendously gifted jazz singer. The added advantage of Kinhan’s individual releases is that they showcase her estimable songwriting dexterity. On her third solo album, working with keyboardist Andy Ezrin, drummer Ben Wittman and alternating bassists David Finck and Will Lee, Kinhan delivers a dozen striking originals, several featuring top-tier guests.

She opens with the free-floating title track, a joyous reconfirmation that music is the food of love, dually propelled by trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Ada Rovatti. Brecker returns, partnered with Japanese guitarist Jiro Yoshida, for the loose, ambling “Bear Walk.” The soulful, torch-lit “Another Hill to Climb” is gently dusted by a Sara Caswell-led string quartet, while the churning, wordless “Chasing the Sun” pairs Kinhan with Brazilian guitar master Romero Lubambo. Organist Gary Versace adds sizzle to the smoldering tango “Chaussure’s Complex,” and New York Voices compatriot Peter Eldridge joins her, not on vocals but as co-writer and pianist, for “The Deep Within,” a poetic meditation on the resiliency of even the most battered heart.

Chief among the assembled talent is, however, deftly intuitive producer Elliot Scheiner, celebrated for his work with Sting, Paul Simon and Steely Dan. In his expert hands, Kinhan has never shone brighter.

Originally published in March 2014
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