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Vanessa Rubin: New Horizens

What’s a singer to do? The jazz tradition would seem to welcome innovation, but record companies deal in a different medium. So unless you’re Betty Carter, with both the tremendous talent and determination to be able to do it on her own terms, you are going to end up with two careers: recording and singing. The singer looks forward to engagements such as Vanessa Rubin recently enjoyed-two and a half weeks at the Oak Room of Manhattan’s storied Algonquin Hotel: a chance to work with the audience, to mix standards in with other material. Recording too often finds ways to lead you down the path of overproduction, to the burying of a fine voice and conception under synthesized strings, etc.

Vanessa Rubin fights back a bit on this, her fifth RCA release: a couple of tracks remember what a straight-ahead groove feels like. But most of this session slips off into new adult contemporary oblivion.

Originally Published