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Janice Borla: From Every Angle

It has been three years since Janice Borla delivered her wonderful Agents of Change and, impossible as it seems, the Illinois-based vocal conjurer’s skills have grown even more magical. When Borla dips into the Great American Songbook, as she does here twice with “Alone Together” and “Blame It on My Youth,” she’s as alluringly hypnotic as Lani Hall. When she travels trickier lyrical roads-Thelonious Monk and Jon Hendricks’ “Ask Me Now” and the sweet union of Horace Silver and Bobby McFerrin that is the soul-stirring “Peace”-she evinces the immaculate musicianship of Irene Kral. And when she spans a vibrant scat spectrum to enliven everything from Kenny Wheeler’s “Gentle Piece” to the Ellington-esque locomotive that is Charlie Parker’s “Segment” and the Wes Montgomery-meets-Vince Guaraldi cool of John Scofield’s “I’ll Take Les,” she rivals the jazz smarts of Annie Ross. But Borla is no Hall-Krall-Ross composite. She’s a singular force to be examined, and appreciated, from every angle.

Originally Published