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Lauren Kinhan: More Than a Tribute

New York Voices’ Lauren Kinhan celebrates Nancy Wilson on the way to crafting a distinctive standards album

Photo of Lauren Kinhan
Lauren Kinhan (photo by Sandrine Lee)

A year or so ago, when New York Voices alto Lauren Kinhan began contemplating her fourth solo release, she was sure of one thing: It would be her first album devoted entirely to standards. How, though, to focus the repertoire? Kinhan grew up in Phoenix, Ariz., where she spent hours listening to her parents’ hi-fi. “One of the records that was powerfully impactful to me was [1961’s] Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley,” the vocalist, 54, recalls. “She was as much a horn player as a singer on that album.

“So I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll pay tribute to that record.’ But there are only six songs she performs. So I went back to the beginning of her story. How did she find herself with Cannonball and then with George Shearing? What interested me the most were the early years, when the arrangements were so succinct and tight and swinging. I only got as far as 1964. I didn’t want to go into the pop or R&B worlds she ended up exploring, so I stayed in that [early ’60s] valley.”

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