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Polly Gibbons: Many Faces of Love

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Polly Gibbons is hardly the first female vocalist to bend an album to the arc of a love affair, but her navigation of an infatuation-to-rebound storyline is among the smartest. Though new to American audiences, the 30-year-old Gibbons, whose dusky style hints at the great Cleo Laine, has deservedly earned hearty kudos in her native England. And she attracts all-star accompanists, including two from the Tierney Sutton Band, drummer Ray Brinker and bassist Kevin Axt; longtime Diana Krall guitarist Anthony Wilson; violinist Christian Howes; and, as leader and sole arranger, pianist Tamir Hendelman.

Gibbons is also a gifted songwriter, but here opts for an eclectic assortment of pop, jazz and soul covers. Her romantic loop begins with an Axt-propelled reading of Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” progressing to the laidback contentment of Al Jarreau’s “So Good” and Bob Haymes’ “Make It Last” and the sensuous fulfillment of Patti Austin’s “That’s Enough for Me.”

Breakup ensues, defined by the Jarreau-associated tearjerker “Not Like This” and Dr. John’s drown-your-sorrows “City Lights.” Regret follows, the ebony dejection of “Since I Fell for You” paired with Rickie Lee Jones’ ruminative “Company.” Finally, rounding remorse’s curve, comes the discernment of Roger Kellaway and Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s “I Have the Feeling I’ve Been Here Before” and clear-eyed wisdom of British songwriter Carroll Coates’ “Love Comes and Goes.”

Listen to or download this album at iTunes.

Originally Published