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Christina Machado: Gone With the Wind

Every once in a while, along comes an album to reinforce our faith in the future of jazz singing. Christina Machado’s debut effort, Gone With the Wind (Summit), is such an achievement. Winding her way through nine standards and one sprightly original, Machado echoes the easy authority of the young Keely Smith. Her sound, however, is more akin to an amalgam of Nancy Wilson’s cool precision and, odd as it might sound, Ann-Margret’s kittenish sensuality. It’s impossible not to be enchanted by her skillfully subdued “On a Clear Day,” set to a swaying samba beat, charmed by the coy playfulness of her “I Didn’t Know About You” or moved by the tender yearning of her “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” which is lovingly accented by Kenyatta Simon’s hypnotic bongos. To be fair, though, much of the credit belongs to Machado’s album mate, trumpeter Nicholas Payton. Their union is, indeed, so seamless that it’s impossible to determine if this is a Machado album with superb Payton accompaniment or a Payton album with shimmering Machado vocals. Payton, who produced the album, also handled all of the arrangements, crafting charts fully worthy of Billy May at his robust best.

Originally Published