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Jeanie Bryson: Deja Blue

It’s been far too long-more than five years-since we last heard from Dizzy Gillespie’s daughter, Jeanie Bryson. Her latest, Deja Blue (Koch CD-7881; 51:46), is something of a family affair, with one track, “Con Alma,” lifted from her late father’s canon and an additional two-the disappointingly pedestrian title tune and far more compelling “Sadness”-contributed by her mother, Connie. The album’s tastiest treat arrives, however, on the shoulders of a family friend as Bryson calls on Etta Jones to help hammer home a superb, silk-and-sandpaper treatment of “It’s So Nice to Have a Man Around the House.” Almost equally impressive is “Hello It’s Me,” which rivals the cautious optimism of Todd Rundgren’s original. Conversely, her “Poetry Man” fails to exorcise the sweet memory of Phoebe Snow, and her bland reworking of “Azure Te” leaves one pining for the haunted beauty of Nat Cole’s ’61 teaming with George Shearing. Deja Blue was, suggests Bryson in the liner notes, intended to explore a spectrum of bluish shadings. Instead, it is simply uneven. Still, slightly disappointing Bryson is far better than no Bryson at all.

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