Wow! Karen Shane has a vibrant voice somewhat reminiscent of Phoebe Snow's, and just as richly evocative and maybe even more varied and expressive. On this delightful collection of thirteen jazzy tunes (including one original), she shows an impressive command of the jazz idiom and a wonderful ability to invest even the hoariest chestnuts (like "But Not for Me" and "All the Way") with originality and new zest. (Just listen to how she bends notes on "Warm and Willing"!) Backed with superb sensitivity by a trio led by the classy pianist Rick Della Ratta, she even tackles his signature "If I Only Had a Brain," on which Della Ratta alone often makes into his own personal Chet Baker tribute. Shane here goes him one better, continuing and furthering his slyly romantic approach to the tune with a full-bodied, open-hearted appeal.
The next track, "Slightly Out of Tune (Desafinado)," is another highlight. Shane's ringing tone brings out the beauty of Jobim's melody, and she is especially well set-off by the gentle bossa beat. Tenor man Billy Ross appears here but Della Ratta's fluid solo takes instrumental honors.
Karen Shane is a first-rate jazz singer who, by the sound of this disc, deserves all the success that may come to her.
Track listing: Better Than Anything / It's Anybody's Spring / Don't Misunderstand / A Man of My Own / But Not for Me / If I Only Had a Brain / Slightly Out of Tune (Desafinado) / Warm and Willing / A Little Song / Only You (No Se Tu) / Love is Here to Stay / All the Way / Be True to Your Heart
Shane, vcl; Rick Della Ratta, p; Harvie Swartz, b; Victor Jones, d; Billy Ross, ts, flt.