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Carri Coltrane is a jazz/pop singer with a dramatic, emotional approach to the modern jazz classics she covers on Flamenco Sketches. And no, she's not related to John Coltrane. But she did, according to press clips, change her name in honor of Trane.
The album is a collaboration between Coltrane and producer Gene McDaniels, a songwriter best known for "Feel Like Makin' Love," a 1974 pop hit for Roberta Flack. All the selections feature lyrics added by McDaniels to such well-known jazz standards as Miles Davis's title cut, Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments," and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." His lyrics are generally poetic and thoughtful, if occasionally grandiose. Coltrane delivers his words in an appropriately quiet, melancholy manner that fits the album's relaxed feel. This is a pleasant, low-key affair that doesn't try to swing too hard.
The instrumental backing, which ranges from fusion to bebop, is provided by some fine musicians including legendary bassist Ron Carter and acoustic guitarist Mark Lucas. McDaniels takes over lead vocal chores on an original number called "Two Hump Ride," a nice-enough New Age pop tune about, I believe, a camel.
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.