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Nanette Natal: Sweet Summer Blue

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If you’re expecting the bold flights of wordless vocalizing that have defined so much of Nanette Natal’s previous recorded work, proceed directly to Sweet Summer Blue‘s seventh and final track, a lissome “I Got Rhythm” filled with those inimitable Natal touches. The balance of the album, comprising six original compositions, might wrongly be perceived as a new direction for Natal. In fact, they recall the earliest phase of her career, harkening back to her long-ago days on the coffeehouse circuit.

The recording technique skewed old-school too, with live performances transferred direct to two-track and then onto analog tape, contributing to the pervading warmth. The intimacy is heightened by the largely acoustic settings, featuring Rolf Sturm on guitars, Dave Silliman on drums, Tony Cimorosi on bass, Clarence Ferrari on violin, with Natal accompanying herself on guitar on three tracks. The arrangements provide her a pan-Americana palette, with waves of country, folk, blues and jazz variously roiling beneath.

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