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Jill Jenson: Jill Jenson

Jill Jenson has sunny vocals easily suited for the adult-contemporary crowd. Her debut CD has some elements of jazz-“jazz-inspired,” she calls it-but this is definitely music to cheer up to, addressing universal themes of hope, love, loss and longing. Although sunny, Jenson’s chops are that of a true singer and her deep, robust sound often compares to Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl and occasionally imparts a modicum of edginess.

Jenson feels so comfortable in her skin it makes you wonder where she’s been your whole life. It happens that the Pacific Northwest native was busy chirping on the jingle circuit while DJ’ing at a Portland jazz station and wearing business suits for Microsoft and AT&T. Her new career seems about right, as she concentrates on her voice while leaving matters like lyrics and instruments to the pros. It’s like a pitcher in baseball’s American League not having to worry about hitting thanks to the designated hitter. That DH here is producer Tim Cashion, who wrote or co-wrote all of the original songs.

The original songs are more hits than misses, but the two covers are home runs. Jenson provides one of the most engaging versions of the oft-covered Earth, Wind & Fire tune “That’s the Way of the World” thanks to her call-and-response to the male chorus and Marc Henderson’s blistering sax solo. And Tommy James’ “Crystal Blue Persuasion” is notable for its two supporting roles: Chuck Loeb’s acoustic guitar runs and James Genus’ long, long bass lines.

Originally Published