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Denise Jannah: The Madness of Our Love

The third Blue Note release by this competent but strangely uncompelling singer finds her performing standards and three of her own compositions backed by a piano trio headed by pianist-music director Bert van den Brink.

Influenced by Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter, dark-voiced, Surinam-born Jannah energetically keeps pace with the tricky tempo shifts of van den Brink’s “Dearly Beloved” and “My Favorite Things” charts, and projects several ballads, including a French translation of “The Shadow of Your Smile,” with warmth, if not depth. Her originals lack melodic inspiration, and are encumbered by cliche-ridden, semi-literate lyrics (e.g., the title song’s “It all comes down to you and I”).

Jannah’s improvisatory skills are unimpressive; a horn player who blew her lame second chorus on “Just You, Just Me” would probably be ushered off the bandstand. Further burdened by overworked material-there’s little nourishment left on the bones of “Teach Me Tonight” and “My Foolish Heart”-Jannah gives her all but fails to rise above the general run of jazz-oriented vocal CDs.

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