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Jeanne Newhall: Wild Blue

This album comes with an inevitable caveat emptor: despite the CD title and the enticing pictures contained therein, Wild Blue is not a jazz album. Not even close. What we have here are 10 tracks of sedation, and that’s not meant to be a put-down.

Jeanne Newhall has a high, thin, beautiful voice that has a very soothing, calming effect. Her intonation is enviable; so is her phrasing. She accompanies herself on piano tastefully, never allowing it to overwhelm her tunes, most of which are originals. There are two notable exceptions: Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart,” for which her voice is eminently suitable; and a strangely deconstructed “These Foolish Things,” which, curiously, Ms. Newhall attempts in a key obviously too high for her voice.

At one point she’s forced to defect to a lower octave. Pity. It’s the only track in which she’s not surrounded by exotic and extraneous instruments.

Originally Published