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Halie Loren: Simply Love

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She may not be the most adventurous interpreter around, rarely coloring too far outside the lines, but for sheer vocal beauty and old-school warmth, few among her contemporaries can match Halie Loren. There’s a subtle sultriness to Loren, more smoldering ingénue than femme fatale, that shapes the core of her appeal. She uses it to full advantage on tender, translucent readings of “For Sentimental Reasons,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Moon River,” “My Funny Valentine” and a stunning “Dream a Little Dream of Me” performed in French. Gently raising the heat, Loren is arguably the first to fully express the intense sensuality of “I Feel the Earth Move”; she extends her predilection for pop material from the ’60s and ’70s with a near-equally voluptuous “Happy Together.”

Three of the 13 tracks are Loren originals, all laudable reconfirmation of her songwriting dexterity. “Cuando Bailamos” (sung in English) is a shimmering examination of intense amour, while the cleverly constructed title tune, featuring guitarist Daniel Gallo, reflects on the endless ways that poets and tunesmiths have defined love.

As always, Loren is provided tight, empathetic backing by pianist Matt Treder, bassist Mark Schneider, drummer Brian West and, on five tracks, guitarist William Seiji Marsh. Here, though, they’re intriguingly enhanced by Sergei Teleshev on button accordion and Craig Chee and Ali Losik Heyer on complementary ukuleles, with the occasional, understated addition of Treder-arranged strings.

Originally Published