If you’re after something pleasantly innocuous to wallpaper the cocktail hour, look elsewhere. It takes a finely attuned jazz oenophile to fully appreciate the multishaded bouquet of Jackie Allen. For like fine wine, Allen gets not only better with age, but also more complex. Both in tone and attitude, there are scattered hints of Emmylou Harris, labelmate Amos Lee, Jim Morrison, Blossom Dearie and, most distinctly, Janis Ian. Her hypnotic sound suggests stalactites hanging deep within some vast cave-jaggedly clear and cool yet vaguely threatening. Even in a number as caressingly soft as “You’re Nearer” there’s the underlying suggestion of trouble brewing.
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