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Lisa Thorson: Resonance

What a nice surprise! Here’s a singer who uses her voice like an instrument, as part of the ensemble, in addition to singing the melody and lyrics and scat singing. She studied with Sheila Jordan, an influence that shows in her mixture of willowy and driving phrases. She also occasionally suggests Anita O’Day. The ensemble work-unison, harmony, and contrapuntal lines with alto and tenor saxophonist Cercie Miller and pianist Tim Ray-is very tight, like a single instrument at times. Bassist Dave Clark and drummer George Schuller often play lead roles in this group, too.

The rapport between voice and drums is exemplified on a duet version of “But Not for Me.” “The Nearness of You,” a lovely romantic performance, is more traditional. “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me” and “Mood Indigo,” among others, showcase the use of the voice as an instrument on familiar tunes. The group’s performance of Monk’s “I Mean You” and Bill Evans’ “Five” has a degree of zaniness that works well. A most impressive album.

Originally Published