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Thanks to the unpredictable ways of life, Indra Rios-Moore, a female jazz singer from Manhattan, has ended up in Denmark where she now lives with her husband whom she met in New York in the spring of 2006.
The reason for the move was love, but in the case of Indra, love and music are closely connected. Her husband is the Danish saxophonist Benjamin Traerup and together with the bassist Thomas Sejthen, they decided to form the trio Indra and the project is now documented on their self-titled album.
The first thing that is striking about the music is its intimacy and the power and clarity of Indra's voice. The set-up of bass and saxophone provides minimal opportunity to hide behind instrumental noise, and the singer takes fruitful advantage of the spotlight without resorting to vocal acrobatics.
The material encompasses a broad range of standards and folksongs. Especially the heritage from gospel and spirituals is prevalent. On the moaning "Cry Me A River," Indra's beatific vibrato gets a tint of Billie Holiday's fragility, whereas "No More" with its blinking banjo and clapping rhythm takes the history back to work songs of the cotton fields.
The singer's take on the standards is equally strong as her interpretation of the traditional songs. On "Like Someone in Love," her voice soars above the swinging bass patterns of Sejthen and the smooth saxophone lines of Traerup.
Here is a singer who has an immense knowledge of American tradition and translates it into lived life. Indra could easily approach the league of the great jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and it is, indeed, a musical fairytale that she has chosen to grace the small country of Denmark with her exceptional voice.
Track Listing: Cry Me a River; Mil Besos; I'll Be Seeing You; No More; Rain & Snow; Teach Me Tonight; Eternal; Mountain; Estate; Like Someone in Love; Old Country; My One and Only Love.
Personnel: Indra Rios-Moore: vocals; Benjamin Traerup: saxophone; Thomas Sejthen: bass; Uffe Steen: guitar (4, 9, 10, 12); Jacob Buchanan: trumpet (1); Rani Arbo: fiddle and vocals (4, 5, 7).
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.