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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Audrey Silver: Very Early

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There's immediate comfort in encountering Audrey Silver's music for the first time. Her voice is an open invitation, an instrument of confession and creation that immediately transports you to someplace else. That's evident from her first utterances through her last words on Very Early. In putting together this program, Silver thought long and hard about song selection. It shows, both in the eclectic playlist she created and through the unique arrangements born of her thoughts and Steven ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy Concert 2016

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Mary Ellend Desmond Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany Comfort and Joy Philadelphia, PA December 11. 2016 Mary Ellen Desmond is one of the most highly regarded Philadelphia-based vocalists, and for the last thirteen years she has provided the inspiration and fronted a top of the line quartet for the annual Comfort and Joy holiday concert at the Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany. This reviewer, no particular fan of holiday ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

C. Michael Bailey’s Best Releases of 2016

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Shifting priorities in 2016 prevented me from either listening to or reviewing as much music as I have in the past. Thus, I did not take a swing at many fine recordings that by all accounts should be on this list like: John Scofield's Country for Old Men (Impulse!); Keith Jarrett's A Multitude of Angels (ECM); Frank Kimbrough's Solstice (Pirouet Records); Joe Lovano's Classic! Live at Newport (Blue Note Records); or Michael Formanek's Ensemble Kolossus' The Distance (ECM).

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kurt Elling: The Beautiful Day

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Forget the standard old tidings of good cheer, the same old set of swinging Christmas standards, and the sugary holiday treats that lack vitality and real sustenance. Kurt Elling certainly paid little mind to them when he was putting together this gem of a program. Instead of taking the road more traveled when it comes to holiday trips, Elling takes back roads and detours. And as with most of his projects, that makes all the difference. For his ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Christmas 2016 II: Contemporary

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Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling says of the holidays, “In the Western world, whether you're Christian or not, Christmas has some kind of seasonal relevance to you...You really cannot escape the holiday--even if it is just coming at you on television...for me, the holiday comes enriched with a lot of beautiful personal memories. It also comes freighted with the knowledge that millions of other people would carry their own such memories; and not all those memories are of happy occasions."

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lauren Bush: All My Treasures

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Toronto-bred and now London-based Lauren Bush introduces herself --on her debut, All My Treasures--as a traditional, vivacious, and supremely confident vocalist, in the mode of Ella Fitzgerald or Anita O'Day. And the tunes she calls her treasures are mostly from the familiar end of the Great American Songbook spectrum. The voice is sassy/brassy, horn like, her diction as precise and sharp as knife blade, and her soul--that shines through, throughout--embraces these forays into twelve tunes with high-spirited panache, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eliane Amherd: Skylines

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It's five years since Swiss-born, New School graduate singer/songwriter Eliane Amherd released Now And From Now On (Self Produced, 2011). The easy-on-the-ear melodies and upbeat rhythms from that debut album are still a central part of Skylines, but those extra five years show in Amherd's more mature writing style and wider musical imagination. Skylines opens with a torch song, of sorts. “Never Is" has all the makings of a classic torch song -strong, evocative, melody and lyrics of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alyssa Allgood: Out Of The Blue

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If Alyssa Allgood's debut EP Lady Bird made a splash, then Out of the Blue is a veritable deluge of inspired thinking. The Chicago vocalist's imprint is evident in every lick of this full-length follow-up. From the original lyrics and arrangements to her choice of musicians and production, Allgood uses everything in her toolkit throughout 10 redux tunes from the Blue Note catalog. Many of these tracks started out as instrumentals in their heyday, foregrounding the melodic and improvisational stylings ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Annie Ross: A Handful Of Songs

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This release on British label Él Records sells itself short since it's very much more than just A Handful Of Songs. It's actually more like a veritable cornucopia of songs. Covering two CDs, in addition to the title album there's A Gasser! and the original cast of the London Production of the revue Cranks, named after John Cranko, who wrote and devised the show with music composed by John Addison. There's a “taster" selection of tracks from four albums by ...


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