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PJ Parker: Intimate

Much as I respect them both, it’s not easy to imagine Doris Day and Carmen McRae occupying the same musical space. Until, that is, you hear East Coast canary PJ Parker as she eases her way through the 16 standards that fill this self-produced debut disc. The suggestion of careful study of both Day and McRae is evident throughout, and the small-voiced Parker uses whatever lessons she’s learned to full advantage, melding the soft curves of Day’s impeccable phrasing with McRae’s harsher edges.

Yet, despite such formidable mentors, rarely does Parker rise above merely pleasant innocuousness. She comes across like a solid, dependable saloon chanteuse, the sort that can be in pretty much any plush lounge, providing pretty, non-disruptive backing throughout the cocktail hour and sounding a wee bit better after a second martini. So, it comes as little surprise that these 16 tracks were culled from several months’ worth of club dates at Rosse’s, a lovely little New Jersey nightspot.

Originally Published