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Lainie Cooke: It’s Always You

Among jazz singers, there’s never been any shortage of late-to-the-game practitioners, but Lainie Cooke numbers among the few who can claim to have started early-very early-yet waited more than half a lifetime to make their recording debut.

The Minneapolis-born Cooke has been singing since age 3 and was fronting a big band at 14. Throughout the 1980s, she proved a consistent favorite on the L.A. club circuit. She then planned to take New York by storm, but instead ended up paying the bills by lending her sand-dusted soprano to jingles for the likes of Ford and McDonald’s, augmenting her commercial work with regular concert dates. Finally, in 2002, the wider world got the chance to discover, with the release of Here’s to Life, what a select few bi-coastal club-goers had known for decades: that Cooke is a first-rate interpreter of jazz standards both sassy and sweet.

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