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Judy Niemack: In the Sundance

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Don’t let the title mislead you. Judy Niemack’s latest has nothing to do with Robert Redford’s annual independent-film fest. Instead, the name is drawn from the English translation of “Le Soleil Donne,” French pop star Laurent Voulzy’s placid examination of the human heart’s resilience. It is, as the album’s closer, an astute summation of the dozen preceding tracks. Niemack, always a keenly perceptive and inventive interpreter, employs the sun, literally and metaphorically, as the jumping-off point for a wide-ranging exploration of love’s joys and sorrows. The sunnily optimistic “How About You?” finds an ideal playmate in the dreamily hopeful “Summer Samba.”

The fiery passion, diminished by autumn’s chill, of “The Summer Knows” is effectively aligned with the sepia reminiscence of “Days of Wine and Roses.” The romantic purity of “Beautiful Love” plays against the earthy fervor of “Summertime” and the dusky, slow-heated desire of “Estate.” Most profoundly, there is a tripartite study of escape that juxtaposes the allure of new horizons in Ivan Lins’ “Sails” and self-actualization of “Bye Bye Blackbird” with the regret-fueled mistiness of Niemack’s own “As I Leave Again.”

Originally Published