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Red: Red And Blue

AAJ Staff By

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Small-minded jazz critics may choose to hate or ignore female jazz singers simply because they're female jazz singers. But when you get down to it, they have a lot in common with jazz instrumentalists. Both run the gamut from the exciting to the generic, and critics who whine about "the glut of female jazz singers out there" seem oblivious to the fact that there's also a glut of unremarkable instrumentalists out there. The problem with critics who whine about singers is their inability to sort through them the way they're willing to sort through instrumentalists. As far as singers go, some names to be aware of are Red and Dominique Eade.

A very personal and expressive voice, Nora "Red" McCarthy has a sultry, sensuous, noir-ish approach that fuses Sarah Vaughan, Abbey Lincoln and Billie Holiday with the 1950s "cool singing" of Chris Connor and Julie London. And yet, Red And Blue has an impressionistic, poetic quality that shows an awareness of post-bop developments of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. One of the impressive things about this CD is the fact that Red does most of her own writing, and she demonstrates how much potential she has as a lyricist on everything from the seductive "Bedroom Eyes" and the somewhat Dianne Reeves- ish "Isis" to her poignant ode to Billie Holiday "Billie."

Though a bit uneven and not as strong as Red And Blue, When The Wind Was Cool nonetheless indicates that Dominique Eade is someone to keep an eye on. Eade's attractive phrasing recalls the Connor/London/June Christy school of 1950s "cool" (along with Vaughn), and in fact, this CD is a tribute to Connor and Christy. =Wind= tends to simmer without taking off, but enjoyable interpretations of "Moonray" and "All About Ronnie" indicate that with the right guidance, she could deliver a great album instead of one's that simply decent, if erratic.



Reprinted with the permission of Myrna Daniels and L.A. Jazz Scene , the largest jazz publication in Southern California.


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