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Marlena Shaw: Elemental Soul

This is a mixed bag of straight-ahead acoustic jazz and jazz with a rock beat and electronic keyboards. Shaw, who debuted 30 years ago, is a soulful singer who can fit convincingly in either genre, although standards such as “How Deep Is the Ocean?,” “‘Round Midnight” and “My Old Flame” do not benefit from pianist David Hazeltine’s rock-ish arrangements.

The singer is at her best on a wistful “I’m Alone Again” (by Alec Wilder and Loonis McGlohon), an easy-going “Once Again We’ve Begun to Love” (by Bill Tragesser) and a stomping, bluesy version of the Gershwins’ standard “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” Hazeltine plays an especially inviting groove on the latter two tunes. In the rhythm section, Earl May, on acoustic bass, alternates with Terry Miller, on electric bass. Barnaby Finch plays electronic keyboards on four tunes. Jerry Jones is the drummer throughout the session, joined by percussionist Michael Spiro on three tunes. Tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine joins the group for some complementary soulful preaching on three cuts.

Originally Published