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Sophie Milman : Make Someone Happy

What would happen if you simultaneously poured drawn butter and warm honey over a block of dry ice? Since I barely passed high-school physics, I have no idea, but suspect the chemical reaction might be equitable to the sensuous sound of Sophie Milman. On this, the Russian-born (she hails from Ufa, the same industrial town that gave us Rudolf Nureyev), Israel-raised, Torontonian’s sophomore album, the singularly gorgeous (vocally and otherwise) Milman jumps to the front of post-Krall pack of jazz singers who are as wise and witty as they are musically astute. That Milman is still shy of her 25th birthday becomes evident when you hear the breathy eagerness, the yet-unsullied romantic enthusiasm, in “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “Like Someone in Love,” “It Might as Well Be Spring,” the title track and, most unexpectedly, the Fiddler on the Roof bride-in-waiting anthem, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

But there’s more to Milman than youthful yearning. Her “Fever” is cooked over medium heat but smolders with the same intensity as Peggy Lee’s. Her reading of Paul Shrofel and Sharada Banman’s “So Long, You Fool,” one of the best kiss-off tunes to come down the pike in a long time, is perfectly chilled. She handles Randy Bachman’s “Undun” with precisely the right mix of empathy and superciliousness. She even achieves the seemingly impossible: making Joe Raposo’s Sesame Street ditty “Bein’ Green” palatable for grown-ups.

Originally Published