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Pastiche: Pastiche

Loosely affiliated for nearly a decade, Sandy Cressman, Becky West and Jenny Meltzer also pursue solo recording, commercial and academic projects. Each is, in her own right, a gifted artist. On those all-too-rare occasions when they do join forces in the studio as Pastiche, they become greater than the sum of their parts. Like that other San Francisco indulgence, Ghirardelli chocolate, Pastiche’s eponymous new album (Summit DCD 300; 42:01) is smooth, rich and delicious. Of the 11 songs included here, eight are originals composed in whole or in part by Meltzer or Cressman, who also share responsibility for all of the vocal arrangements. Cressman indulges her passion for Brazilian rhythms on the bouncy, infectious “Don’t Lose Your Cool,” the sweet, somber “Only Love” and the fiery “Waiting on the Day.” For her part, Meltzer manages to blend the smoothness of Manhattan Transfer with the sophistication of Everything But the Girl for splendid results on “Whatever It Takes” and “Remember That.” Rounding out the collection is a terrific treatment of Neal Hefti’s “Late Date” (with lyrics added by Meltzer), and as delightful a version of “You Hit the Spot” as you’re ever likely to hear. Oh, and as for “Blackbird,” Pastiche’s is as cool and hypnotic as Marie’s is dark and menacing.

Originally Published