Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ranee Lee: Dark Divas: Highlights

Brooklyn-born, Montreal-based Ranee Lee retains traditional virtues that most contemporary, jazz-oriented singers have abandoned: professionalism, humor, discipline, unpretentiousness. No doubt these old-school qualities serve her well in her one-woman stage production, Dark Divas, in which she pays homage to Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. On … Read More “Ranee Lee: Dark Divas: Highlights”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Raquel Bitton: Sings Edith Piaf: The Golden Album

Morocco-bred, San Francisco-based cabaret singer Raquel Bitton’s fifth album features 16 songs drawn from the repertoire of the legendary French chanteuse, Edith Piaf. Backed by a 24-piece orchestra, Bitton performs a mixture of Piaf’s signature pieces (“La Vie en Rose,” “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”) and less familiar material, all sung in French with translations … Read More “Raquel Bitton: Sings Edith Piaf: The Golden Album”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Jane Monheit: Never Never Land

If as much attention had been paid to the content of Jane Monheit’s debut CD as was lavished on its glamour-girl packaging, Never Never Land would have made a far stronger impact. In her senior year of voice study at the Manhattan School of Music, Monheit entered the 1998 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition … Read More “Jane Monheit: Never Never Land”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Georgie Fame: Poet in New York

It’s difficult to explain why English singer-songwriter-keyboardist-arranger Georgie Fame isn’t regarded as a topflight male jazz vocalist: he’s easily the peer of Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling. This lavishly gifted musician’s two excellent 1999 Go Jazz CDs, Name Droppin’ and Walking Wounded, passed virtually unnoticed. Could it be that the success of his ’60s pop … Read More “Georgie Fame: Poet in New York”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Dianne Reeves: In the Moment: Live in Concert

Until the release of this vibrant live album, Dianne Reeves’ recordings have failed to capture the beauty and energy of her club and concert performances. Has she been intimidated by the clinical, this-is-forever ambience of the recording studio, or is she a perfectionist who compulsively refines the vitality out of her CDs? Whatever the reason, … Read More “Dianne Reeves: In the Moment: Live in Concert”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Mark Murphy: Some Time Ago

Mark Murphy is arguably the most influential jazz singer of his generation, not only as an artistic inspiration for younger performers but as a teacher, cheerleader and guest artist on the recordings of emerging vocalists. In many ways, he’s an excellent role model-restlessly creative, unwilling to compromise, constantly seeking new artistic challenges. His finest recordings, … Read More “Mark Murphy: Some Time Ago”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Mark Murphy featuring Benny Green: Dim the Lights

Asking a voice-and-piano duo to sustain interest for nearly 70 minutes is a daunting request that Murphy and pianist Benny Green do their best to fulfill. But Murphy’s chops, nakedly exposed in this setting, sound strained and grainy, and Green’s virtuosic playing can not fully compensate for the album’s tonal and rhythmic restrictions. (“Trilogy,” on … Read More “Mark Murphy featuring Benny Green: Dim the Lights”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Kevin Mahogany: Pussy Cat Dues: The Music of Charles Mingus

Kevin Mahogany’s fans are likely to feel scammed by this CD. Judging by the cover portrait of the singer and his top billing, one would assume that Mahogany was the album’s feature attraction. In fact, Pussy Cat Dues is a concert presentation of Charles Mingus compositions performed by the WDR Big Band, recorded live in … Read More “Kevin Mahogany: Pussy Cat Dues: The Music of Charles Mingus”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Mary LaRose/Ledhead: Walking Woman

Has there ever been a vocal recording of any kind featuring a repertoire as diverse as compositions by Henry Purcell, Fletcher Henderson, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Led Zeppelin and Anthony Braxton? Singer-arranger-lyricist Mary LaRose deserves kudos merely for her courage in embarking on such a project, and even more for how impressively she executes it … Read More “Mary LaRose/Ledhead: Walking Woman”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

James Darren: This One’s From the Heart

Hollywood actor-director-singer James Darren’s collection of standards spins off from his stint playing holographic Vegas crooner Vic Fontaine on the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Darren’s tentative, toneless entrance on the opening phrase of “The Best Is Yet to Come” sets the tone for seventeen tracks of ineptly sung, overdone material (“Night and … Read More “James Darren: This One’s From the Heart”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Lisa Michel: When September Comes

Evenly split between standards and originals, When September Comes showcases Lisa Michel’s songwriting and performing talents. Her compositions are musically and emotionally challenging, outfitting jagged melodies with insightful lyrics capturing the anxieties of children (“Perfect Dancer,” “Slides”) and adults (“Hard to Love.”) Her presentations of this highly personal material are more successful than her versions … Read More “Lisa Michel: When September Comes”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Phil Kidder: Simple Pleasures

Either this CD is a joke, as implied by the vocalist’s last name, or a misbegotten vanity production. Singing with the spare accompaniment of only two guitars nakedly exposes a performer’s strengths and weaknesses. Few if any of the former are noticeable here but the latter are abundantly evident: a thin, piping, unattractive instrument; clueless … Read More “Phil Kidder: Simple Pleasures”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Live at Yoshi’s

As anyone who has witnessed her will attest, Dee Dee Bridgewater is a spellbinding live performer. Having distinguished herself in jazz, musical theater and FM disco-funk, she’s become a one-woman talent conglomerate-singer, actress, dancer and mimic. Live at Yoshi’s, cut in April 1998 in Oakland, CA, is her finest recording to date, brimming with energy, … Read More “Dee Dee Bridgewater: Live at Yoshi’s”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Eve Cornelius and the Chip Crawford Trio: I Feel Like Some Jazz Today

Husband-and-wife team pianist-arranger Chip Crawford and singer Eve Cornelious are highly schooled artists who feel compelled to demonstrate their hip erudition in every bar of their music. The result is not unimpressive but exhausting to assimilate. Their highly ornamented presentations of standards (“Tenderly,” “Lush Life”) and originals (“A Thoughtful Message,” the title composition) smother the … Read More “Eve Cornelius and the Chip Crawford Trio: I Feel Like Some Jazz Today”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Asa Harris: All in Good Time

Singer-pianist Ace Harris’ daughter and trumpeter-bandleader Erskine Hawkins’ niece, Asa Harris continues her family’s musical heritage in her debut album. Harris’ experience as a stage, film, and television actress is evident in her forceful vocal projection, but she does not appear wholly comfortable performing in a jazz context. She rarely departs from the melody lines … Read More “Asa Harris: All in Good Time”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Maxine Sullivan: The “Le Ruban Bleu” Years: The Complete Recordings 1944-1949

Maxine Sullivan’s 1937 recording of “Loch Lomond” made her an overnight star with major label contracts, her own CBS radio show and a featured role in the Warner Brothers movie Going Places. But by 1944, she’d grown tired of battling with agents and managers and decided to become a free-lance artist, taking charge of her … Read More “Maxine Sullivan: The “Le Ruban Bleu” Years: The Complete Recordings 1944-1949″

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Maxine Sullivan: Love Always

Love Always finds Sullivan, a month shy of her 76th birthday, sounding as sprightly as ever on a tasty program of upbeat rhythm tunes and romantic ballads. Although the passage of time is evident in slightly lowered keys and diminished breath control, she has evolved into a more expressive storyteller, delivering lyrics with mature wit … Read More “Maxine Sullivan: Love Always”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Anita O’Day: The Complete Anita O’Day Verve/Clef Sessions

A critic once advised Anita O’Day to clear her throat before singing; another characterized her sound as “strangulated.” As she candidly observed in her 1981 memoir, High Times Hard Times, “I knew I didn’t have any chops, but I also knew I had a lot of heart.” Despite its keen edge and vivacious sparkle, O’Day’s … Read More “Anita O’Day: The Complete Anita O’Day Verve/Clef Sessions”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Peggy Lee/June Christy: The Complete Peggy Lee & June Christy Capitol Transcription Sessions

Mosaic’s first all-vocal release, The Complete Peggy Lee & June Christy Capitol Transcription Sessions, makes available obscure early material by these jazz-oriented singers. Transcriptions were 16″ disks containing about a dozen songs specifically produced for radio broadcast and not sold in music stores. Their contents tended to be more informal and less jukebox-driven than commercial … Read More “Peggy Lee/June Christy: The Complete Peggy Lee & June Christy Capitol Transcription Sessions”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

June Christy: The Song is You

Technically speaking, June Christy’s singing, with its wavery intonation, stiff time, forced diction and hoarse timbre, left much to be desired. But her recordings, including the two albums combined in this reissue-The Song Is June (1958) and Off Beat (1960)-offered many compensations. Her choice of material was impeccable, a mixture of quality standards (“Nobody’s Heart,” … Read More “June Christy: The Song is You”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.

Irene Kral: Where is Love

In the ’50s and ’60s, Irene Kral recorded with Maynard Ferguson, Herb Pomeroy and Junior Mance, but remained in the shadow of her older brother, singer-pianist-arranger Roy Kral. Where Is Love?, a 1974 collection of duets with pianist Alan Broadbent, was her creative breakthrough and, sadly, her artistic testament. Kral, who died in 1978, considered … Read More “Irene Kral: Where is Love”

To access this content, you must purchase JazzTimes Membership.