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Jacintha: Goes to Hollywood

If I correctly recall my high school physics, white represents the combination of all colors, a fact Malaysian songstress Jacintha seems determined to prove throughout this homage to Tinseltown tunes. On previous albums, particularly her 2004 Brazilian-themed release The Girl From Bossa Nova, Jacintha has used her eiderdown-soft voice to effective advantage. Here, despite earnest effort by a phalanx of first-rate sidemen-drummer Joe La Barbera, guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Derek Oles and organist Larry Goldings (who also guests on piano and accordion) among them-to add some vibrancy to the proceedings, the nine tracks amount, thanks to Jacintha’s monochromatically emotionless readings, to a bland bowlful of soft-serve vanilla.

It can’t be easy painting such varied delights as Bacharach and David’s slyly inquisitive “Alfie,” Evans and Livingston’s effervescent “Que Sera Sera” and Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s dense, mesmerizing “Windmills of Your Mind” in precisely the same, flat shade of eggshell, but she somehow manages it. Jacintha could also use a lesson in geography. Two of these nine selections-the title song from director Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman and the breezy “On Days Like These” from the original The Italian Job-hail not from Hollywood but, respectively, from French and British screen gems. And, as long as we’re quibbling, “California Dreamin'” (which is as much about New York as it is L.A.) wasn’t written for the movies.

Originally Published