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Jenny Evans: Gonna Go Fishin’

London-born chanteuse Jenny Evans, best known in the U.K. and Germany, is that rare breed of performer who acts as well as she sings, and once, when she needed a place to showcase her vocal talents, had the moxie to open her own club in Munich. I was, I must confess, predisposed to like her. I’m a sucker for that raspy Sally Kellerman-meets-Kathleen Turner thing, and Evans has got it in spades. If that weren’t temptation enough, there’s also a hint of the young Chris Connor. Given her multinational roots, it comes as no surprise that her latest album, Gonna Go Fishin’ (Enja ENJ-9403 2; 55:27), is like a world jazz tour. This eclectic collection is filled with gems, including two dynamic compositions from trumpet player Dusko Goykovich, with lyrics penned by Evans: “Hope,” a rather mystical, prayerlike folk song, and the sizzling, Afro-Cuban “Love Is the Answer.” Evans also delivers a masterful, grown-up reading of “The Man I Love” that is, for once, ground more in reality than fantasy, and she turns the frustratingly co-dependent “Black Coffee” on its ear, reshaping it as a tale of a woman who’s more concerned with being duped than being dumped. Most interesting, though, is Evans’ inclusion of “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die,” which is usually remembered as a machismo anthem from Sinatra’s ring-a-ding-ding days. Sinatra rode it like a speeding rocket. Evans, taking things at a calmer pace, transforms it (… la Shirley Bassey’s “I’d Like to Hate Myself in the Morning”) into a first-rate salute to female feistiness.

Originally Published