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La Tanya Hall: It’s About Time

Chances are that at some point or another throughout the past decade you’ve heard La Tanya Hall. Maybe it was behind Steve Tyrell or Aretha Franklin, or during her five years with Harry Belafonte or her subsequent four years as a member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra ensemble, or as headliner of the national tour of Dreamgirls, or in any of a dozen or more top Manhattan nightspots, extending from Feinstein’s at the Regency to the Blue Note.

Now, as her new album’s title coyly suggests, the silky, soulful Hall is at long last making her solo recording debut. Traversing a dozen classic tunes, Hall, who suggests the keen interpretative smarts of Maxine Sullivan underscored by the elegant sophistication of Nancy Wilson, proves marvelously dexterous, as enticing at plumbing the depths of “I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good)” as at climbing the heights of a scorching “(It’s Gonna Be) A Great Day.”

Equal credit for the album’s abundant charm is due arranger/conductor Angelo DiPippo. Whether shaping “Summertime” as a sensuous samba or sculpting “You Don’t Know What Love Is” into a bluesy, brassy admonition, his instincts are splendidly imaginative while fully appreciative of Hall’s Broadway-meets-supper club vibe.

Originally Published