Any recording titled Licensed to Thrill sets up a certain expectation. Unfortunately, the latest CD from the Boston-based vocalist rarely lives up to its promise. Byrne delivers a solid, competent set of pop and jazz standards, but her thin, reedy voice isn't particularly distinctive or compelling, much less thrilling. What sparkles are the nuanced, textured arrangements by bassist and husband Marshall Wood and the masterful performances by her sidemen. Scott Hamilton's soaring tenor sax underlines the light-hearted rhythms of Nobody Else But Me", while Wood's subtle bass lends a sexy playfulness to Talk To Me Baby". Byrne displays confident phrasing ...read more
A true gem of a singer, Donna Byrne's latest is a 14-track journey through the pages of the Great American Songbook, and along the way she brilliantly captures the essence of each of these chestnuts. But Byrne knows how to extend herself far beyond mere recitation of the words. Her delivery is so engaging, so dazzling, so bright that each tune is an entertaining foray into the world of the art of jazz vocal. Not only is she equipped with an extraordinary set of vocal chords, excellent and top of the line timing and phrasing, she does not let herself ...read more
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