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Cassandra Reed: Cassandra Reed

Singer Cassandra Reed possesses a supple, expressive voice, and her self-titled American debut album for Peak is an impressive, accomplished outing. Reed’s background is colorful and her influences comprehensive; born in Spain, Reed, who is of Gypsy descent, traveled through Europe with her family, eventually growing up in Germany. She absorbed jazz, pop, R&B and world music, and the songs on her album reflect all those influences. The Latin-flavored “I’m Still Here” finds Reed’s voice complemented by Romero Lubambo’s nylon-string guitar, while “Without You” features tribal percussion and soprano sax accents, and Reed’s reinvention of Michael Jackson’s “The Man in the Mirror” begins as a sultry jazz ballad, then escalates into a soaring gospel number. While many of the songs express the varied aspects of love-from the sweet simplicity of “Home With You” to the soulful melancholy of “I’m Missin'”-others address different concerns-like “Color Of Love,” which decries prejudice, and “The Voice Inside,” which is about honesty and heeding one’s instincts. Overall, this is an auspicious introduction to a very promising artist.

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