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Rebecca Kilgore: I Like Men

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The concept, a female singer paying album-length homage to the male of the species, is hardly new. That well-worn path has been trod by Peggy Lee, Julie London and countless others. But Rebecca Kilgore manages, in her deceptively effortless way, to make even so tired a trope sound new. Once again, Kilgore is in the welcome company of saxophonist Harry Allen’s quartet, featuring pianist Rossano Sportiello, bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Kevin Kanner. It is her and Allen’s third shared outing since 2011 and they remain superbly well matched.

The playful title is lifted from a 1959 Lee LP, as is the title track, here combined with another breezy, Lee-borrowed tune, “I’m Just Wild About Harry.” Thereafter, Kilgore draws upon her vast knowledge of the Great American Songbook to round out the 15-track playlist.

Typical of Kilgore it is a sweeping olio, its various perspectives on romance traveling from anticipatory (“The Man I Love,” “For Every Man There’s a Woman”) to mewing (“The Boy Next Door,” “He’s My Guy”) to mournful (“The Man That Got Away”), and from warmly begrudging (“He’s a Tramp,” “The Gentleman Is a Dope”) to coolly blasé (“An Occasional Man”). But it wouldn’t be a Kilgore album without some surprises, including a slithery midtempo “Goldfinger,” Harold Arlen and Truman Capote’s brothel anthem “One Man Ain’t Quite Enough,” the overexcited “Down Boy” and, from Guys and Dolls, “Marry the Man Today.”

Originally Published