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Barbara Paris: P.S. I Love You

On the back cover of Barbara Paris’ P.S. I Love You (Perea), there’s the promise of “42 minutes of pure jazz.” Instead, we’re provided with three-quarters of an hour of pure disappointment. Though she’s wisely teamed with pianist Joe Bonner for this 10-track tribute to Billie Holiday, Paris needs more than an accomplished accompanist to make such an ambitious project work. Though often praised by others, Paris sounds to me like a lounge singer in the sort of suburban joint where the strength of the drinks is as important as the strength of the performer. She does, in fact, remind me a lot of the fetching yet nondescript canary so perfectly captured by Sheree North some 30 years ago on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Her tastefully uninspired renditions of such classics as “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” “Embraceable You” and “More Than You Know,” consistently lacking in anything approaching heartfelt passion, might be worth a buck or two in the tip jar but not much more.

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