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Vocalist Lauren Kinhan is the alto quarter of vocal ensemble New York Voices and the leader of two previous solo outings, Hardly Blinking (Orchard, 2000) and Avalon (Koch, 2010). She was most recently hears on New York Voices holiday offering, Let It Snow (Five Cent Records, 2013). Kinhan's solo recordings are all originally composed by the singer making her solo artistic approach different from that of band mate Kim Nazarian and Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne of the The Manhattan Transfer. And Kinhan is quite the songstress to boot..
Employing her long-time core trio of pianist Andy Ezrin, bassist Will Lee and drummer Ben Wittman, Kinhan adds the likes of trumpeter Randy Brecker, whose tart and close open-bell playing gives the production a dry and refined touch. The opening tune is the title piece and is such a perfectly constructed piece with a jazz-pop sensibility, it might be the contemporary missing link of what Frank Sinatra was in the 1940s and '50s.' Kinhan does not belabor the piece with duplicates throughout Circle. Instead, she proceeds through the late-night feel of "Another Hill to Climb" and slick R&B flavored "I'm Looking for That Number." "Pocketful of Harlem" is edgy and modern, instrumentally a showcase for Kinhan's solid alto chimes. This singer's solo recordings stand in fine and forward-thinking contrast to her durable work with New York Voices.
Track Listing: Circle In A Square; My Painted Lady Butterfly; Another Hill To Climb;
Chasing The Sun; I'm Lookin' For That Number One; To Live Or Die;
Pocketful of Harlem; We're Not Going Anywhere Today; Chaussure's
Complex; Bear Walk; Vanity's Paramour; The Deep Within.
Personnel: Lauren Kinhan:vocals; Andy Ezrin: Fender Rhodes; Ben Wittman: Drums &
Percussion; Will Lee: Bass; Randy Brecker: Trumpet; Lauren Kinhan,
Marlon Saunders, Ella Marcus: Background Vocals; David Finck: Bass;
Joel Frahm: Soprano Saxophone; Sara Caswell: 1st Violin, Joseph Brent
2nd Violin; Lois Martin: Viola; Jody Redhage: Cello; Aaron Heick: Alto
Flute; Romero Lubambo: Guitar; Donny McCaslin: Tenor Saxophone; John
Bailey: Flugel Horn; Chuck Loeb: Guitar; Gary Versace: Accordion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.