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Fleurine: Fire

Five years ago, golden-voiced Dutch beauty Fleurine doubled with pianist Brad Mehldau, serving as coperformer, coarranger and, on two tracks, cowriter, for the mesmerizing Close Enough for Love, teaching us, among other things, that Supertramp’s “The Logical Song” could be transformed into five-and-a-half minutes of poetic longing and that Jimi Hendrix, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Michel Legrand made for contented neighbors. Now, with Fire (Coast to Coast), her equally sublime American debut produced by Robert Sadin (whose long list of critical and popular accomplishments includes Wayne Shorter’s Alegria), she continues to practice her cunning brand of vocal wizardry, both with Mehldau (he joins her for three tracks) and without (working variously with such other ace accompanists as tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, accordionist Gil Goldstein and her decade-long sidemen, guitarist Jesse van Ruller and bassist Johan Plomp) on two originals and 10 covers. Apart from the cuddly, self-composed “Hey Little Girl,” the vibrant “Voce,” which she crafted in tandem with Jose Luis Lopretti, and the likeminded, if distinctly mellower, Jobim classic “So Tinha de Ser com Voce,” the emphasis is, in the spirit of that half-decade old Supertramp cover, on contemporary pop hits cleverly reimagined. The Springsteen-penned title track is reworked as a sultry samba, Frampton’s “Show Me the Way” is rewrapped in gossamer as is the Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket,” Nick Drake’s “Fruit Tree” is kissed with a gentle autumn chill and Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” is, apropos its title, injected with a hint of haunted lunacy.

Originally Published