Teri Thornton: I’ll Be Easy to Find

Teri Thornton, winner of the 1998 Thelonious Monk jazz vocals competition, had shown promise in the early ’60s, but went on a 30-year hiatus. During that time, she began writing charts that demonstrate her sassy, spunky style. “Salty Mama,” “Feels Good,” and the blatantly autobiographical “Knee Deep (In the Blues)” should become her signature songs. Thornton’s darkly deep contralto delivers ballads beautifully, including a lovely original, “Wishing Well,” as well as Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” Her assertively swinging piano chops on four tracks include “I’ll Be Seeing You” and a strongly percussive treatment of “Nature Boy.” A most unusual track is her samba-style of “The Lord’s Prayer.” Her colleagues on various tracks include Jerome Richardson and Howard Johnson on reeds, trombonist Dave Bargeron, pianists Norman Simmons and Ray Chew, bassists Lonnie Plaxico and Michael Bowie, and drummers Grady Tate and J.T. Lewis.