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Joanie Pallatto: As You Spend Your Life

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When the most scintillating Caribbean track you’ve heard in ages comes from an Italian-American singer and pianist from Chicago, you sit up and take extra notice. The track is “Playa Bonita,” a playful slice of sun-drenched iridescence co-written and performed by Joanie Pallatto and her life partner, producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Bradley Parker-Sparrow. But the cut represents only the tip of the album’s eclectic dynamism.

Pallatto sounds a lot like Stevie Nicks-if, that is, Nicks was a top-drawer jazz stylist of expansive musical tastes and keen instincts. Trying to channel Pallatto is like attempting to bottle a cyclone. It’s best to just let her run wild, dashing from the heart-lifting beauty of “For My Mother’s Love,” the deep musings of “Into the Looking Glass” and the cozy contentment of “Another Quiet Night,” to the live-in-studio improvisation “We Got It,” with bassist Dave Onderdonk, and the swirling cacophony (complete with dog barks) of the vocal tone poem “Touch.”

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