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Lisa Michel: You Should Be Nicer To Me

Cover photo-dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty-made me really want to like this debut. However! Hard to get a clear fix on the voice through the fog of effects, swoops, breath and effort; liberties with melody, meter and lyrics add nothing of interest. The quartet [David Berkman, piano; James Genus, bass; Matt Wilson, drums; Joel Frahm, tenor sax] swings hard on “Evenin'” with a righteous vocal and a wailing tenor solo. Two of Duke’s best ballads, Lerner/Lowe’s “Show Me,” Frank Loesser’s “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and a blessedly straight sax chorus on the Johnny Mercer/Gordon Jenkins classic, “P.S. I Love You.” Two originals by Michel, and a haunting minor mood, “Tiny Prairie Landscape,” by Berkman.

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