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Cindy Scott: Historia

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New Orleans’ Cindy Scott launched her recording career in 2002 with a relatively safe, entirely respectable platter of standards. Seven years later, she upped her game with a looser, more assured and far more musically adventurous sophomore disc. Historia now takes Scott to an entirely new level. While Scott’s sound is strongly reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt, her bold, brave interpretive élan is more on par with Tierney Sutton or Kate McGarry.

On 2009’s Let the Devil Take Tomorrow, Scott travelled from Smokey Robinson and Hank Williams to Dory Caymmi and Edu Lobo, adding a couple of solid originals into the mix. Here she ventures far further, beginning with a scintillating re-imagining of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Shaw ‘Nuff,” transformed, via Scott’s lyric, into an angular salute to fearlessness. She pairs with Karrin Allyson for an equally impressive sidle through Ornette Coleman’s “Turnaround” (featuring Carolyn Graye’s craftily karmic lyric). Allyson returns for the closer, the sagely optimistic “Some of That Sunshine,” a tune she co-wrote with Chris Caswell.

Scott’s intermingling of new English lyrics into a bilingual reading of the dark, desolate “Historia de un Amor,” and her stunningly imaginative treatments of “Shenandoah” and “Look for the Silver Lining,” provide additional evidence of her tremendous artistic growth. As for originals, both “What’s Comin’ Atcha,” a moving post-Katrina tale of finding joy amid tragedy, and the gently powerful “Laura Lee,” inspired by a Civil War soldier’s poignant letter home (which Scott found tucked inside a family bible), are superbly etched.

Originally Published