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Angela Verbrugge: The Night We Couldn’t Say Goodnight (Gut String)

Angela Verbrugge seems to understand the importance of a first impression, as her debut album offers a wide-angle look at her manifold talents without feeling forced or showy. A singer nurtured on the British Columbia jazz scene, the Vancouver-based Verbrugge possesses a winsome, brightly burnished, pliable voice, ample emotional intelligence, considerable songwriting skills, and conspicuously … Read More “Angela Verbrugge: The Night We Couldn’t Say Goodnight (Gut String)”

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Cyrille Aimée: Move On: A Sondheim Adventure (Mack Avenue)

Considering his iconic status as Broadway’s towering genius, Stephen Sondheim hasn’t made much of an impression on the jazz canon. I can’t remember the last time I heard a jazz singer tackle “Send in the Clowns,” his only song that can fairly be called a standard (well, aside from the West Side Story tunes that … Read More “Cyrille Aimée: Move On: A Sondheim Adventure (Mack Avenue)”

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Capathia Jenkins & Louis Rosen: Phenomenal Woman: The Maya Angelou Songs (Di-Tone)

The quandary facing 21st-century jazz singers is where to find fresh material. Actress and singer Capathia Jenkins isn’t a jazz vocalist, but she’s provided an invaluable gift to singers looking for songs that are ripe for interpretation and reimagination. Working with longtime creative partner Louis Rosen, a Guggenheim-honored composer and arranger with an extensive list … Read More “Capathia Jenkins & Louis Rosen: Phenomenal Woman: The Maya Angelou Songs (Di-Tone)”

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Ran Blake/Christine Correa: Streaming (Red Piano)

Third-stream guru Ran Blake, who, as pianist and composer, built upon his devotion to Ellington and Monk to shape a uniquely dynamic aesthetic, has frequently recorded with vocalists. His 1961 union with Jeanne Lee remains the widest celebrated, but his most enduring kinship has been with Bombay-born Christine Correa. They met nearly four decades ago, … Read More “Ran Blake/Christine Correa: Streaming (Red Piano)”

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Camille Thurman: Waiting for the Sunrise (Chesky)

Camille Thurman has to share the credit for her wonderful sophomore effort for the Chesky label not only with her accompanists but with her producer, label head David Chesky, and his “3D” binaural and audio technique. The session, cut in Brooklyn, was captured—without getting into a bunch of audiophile jibber-jabber—with a single microphone, rather than … Read More “Camille Thurman: Waiting for the Sunrise (Chesky)”

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Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star—The War Years 1940-1946 by Gary Giddins (Little, Brown)

Ask anyone to name the greatest entertainer of the 20th century and responses will likely range from Sinatra and Garland to Elvis and Aretha. Chances are Bing Crosby will rarely, if ever, be mentioned. At his height, Crosby was untouchable, the world’s first multimedia superstar; but after his death in 1977, age 74, his star … Read MoreBing Crosby: Swinging on a Star—The War Years 1940-1946 by Gary Giddins (Little, Brown)”

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Lorraine Feather: Math Camp (Relarion)

Released just after her 70th birthday, Math Camp continues the reign of vocalist and lyricist Lorraine Feather as one of the sharpest wordsmiths in jazz. Feather’s latest is another wellspring of cleverness that bounces between sweet, sardonic, poignant, and mirthful. Her talk-sing style remains bracing and her bandmates are as diverse as her playlist, with … Read More “Lorraine Feather: Math Camp (Relarion)”

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Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne: Eastern Standard Time (Café Pacific)

Five years ago, Mark Winkler teamed with Manhattan Transfer’s Cheryl Bentyne to shape West Coast Cool, a terrific salute to the chill jazz vibe that poured forth from California in the late ’50s and early ’60s. They’ve now shifted their focus to the same era’s New York scene, with equally scintillating results. Manhattan’s then-hippest tunesmiths, … Read More “Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne: Eastern Standard Time (Café Pacific)”

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Kandace Springs: Indigo (Blue Note)

There is a tremendous less-is-more majesty to vocalist and pianist Kandace Springs’ sophomore release, its 13 tracks rarely featuring more than four players, yet each incredibly atmospheric. Apart from drummer/percussionist Karriem Riggins, who produced or co-produced all but two of the cuts and plays on seven, there are no core bandmates. Instead, various configurations were … Read More “Kandace Springs: Indigo (Blue Note)”

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