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Sarah DeLeo: The Nearness of You

Newcomer Sarah DeLeo has a small but pleasant voice. Sadly, unlike many other chanteuses (Astrud Gilberto leaps immediately to mind) who have made the most of a somewhat limited range by boosting her power with emotional panache, DeLeo imbues these 10 well-chosen tunes with seemingly little heartfelt imagination. Where’s the unbridled joie de vivre Peggy Lee brought to “It’s a Good Day”? Where’s the ebony-edged self-despair that made Matt Dennis’ “Angel Eyes” so thrilling? Where’s the been-there-done-that seasoning that percolated Jackie and Roy’s “The Glory of Love”?

Most blandly disappointing of all, where’s the growling sexual hunger that made Ray Charles’ “The Night Time (Is the Right Time)” so sinfully satisfying? Despite top-drawer accompaniment (particularly from guitarist Chris Bergson and bassist Mark Verdino), it sure ain’t here among these pale, vanilla-flavored readings.

Originally Published