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Jane Harvey: One to One: Jane Harvey Sings Ellington

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Surely the most underappreciated jazz vocalist of the past half-century, Jane Harvey boasted a résumé that included stints with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Desi Arnaz but recorded infrequently as a leader. Harvey’s record sales were minuscule at best. Among vocal connoisseurs her out-of-print albums were treasured gems, until four years ago when Little Jazz Bird compiled almost her entire output on five discs.

Between those 2012 reissues and Harvey’s death the following year, at age 88, she squeezed in one final album, a 16-track tribute to Ellington released late last year. The settings are intentionally spare, just piano and guitar, shaped by Mike Renzi alternating with Bucky Pizzarelli and Ron Escheté. As expected of a near-nonagenarian, Harvey’s voice has grown thin, her range diminished, her breathing ragged. Yet her interpretive powers remain as sharp and beguiling as ever.

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