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It is always a pleasure discovering something new, even if that "new" has been around for a while. So it is with Kendra Shank, as complete a jazz singer as one could wish for. And on this her third album, Shank sings to tunes composed by Duke Ellington, Abbey Lincoln, Kurt Weill, Ralph Towner and The Beatles. That nails the concept of the singer she is, dead center.
Shank who was once a folk singer made her recording debut in 1992. She has turned into a beguiling voice, a singer who captivates with her understanding of a lyric. She turns words into experiences, sentences into motifs that travel into the well of observant encounter.
Credit for making this album what it is also goes to her band. They are right behind, feeding her, imbibing the spirit, fleshing out the songs. Perhaps the best interaction comes on the riveting "Throw It all Away" where she engages in heady dialogue with Johnson and Moreno on a scat and vocalese segment making it quite the highpoint of the album.
There is more to cherish. The singing is straightforward but nevertheless deeply felt on "Reflections" and the bright tempo of "This Is New" showcases her verve. And yes the Beatles. She changes the lyrics a bit on "Let It Be", but there is no denying the depth of emotion that raises the level of this pop classic. This is a well-realized effort.
Track Listing: Alone Together; I'm Never Sure; Reflections; This Is New; Throw It Away; When Springtime Turns To Fall; Let It Be; Papillon Des Nuits; A Timeless Place; The Silence Of A Candle
Personnel: Kendra Shank: Vocals, guitar; Frank Kimbrough: Piano; Dean Johnson: Bass; Tony Moreno; Drums and percussion
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...