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Lauren Hooker: Right Where I Belong

Marcia Hillman By

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Lauren Hooker shows off her multi-faceted talent in this, her debut CD. Teaming up with Allen Farnham (piano), Rufus Reid (bass) and Tim Horner (drums and percussion), Hooker runs through a selection of jazz standards and originals.

Her originals break down into two types: original lyrics for instrumental standards and new pieces. The former included here are by Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Mal Waldron, Wayne Shorter and Fats Waller. Her lyrical take on Monk's "Well You Needn't ("You Needn't Call Me ) plays with time the way Monk did, and her lyric and breakneck speed on "Lovebug Jitters ("Jitterbug Waltz ) would have made Waller chuckle with delight. Hooker's originals are straightforward and melodic.

Her rendition of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To really swings and should garner some good airplay. She also segues from Koehler-Arlen's "Ill Wind to Ellington's "Creole Love Call," an interesting but musically fitting combination.

Farnham offers some outstanding moments throughout the CD; listen for his work on "Lovebug Jitters." Reid contributes wonderfully conversational solos on the title track and also on "Goodbye Pork Pie." Horner's drumming is right on.

Hooker possesses a voice of many shades and uses them well. Her low notes are reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan's bottom range, though not as full-bodied, and sometimes there's a hint of Dinah Washington's energy. But her sound and style are unique and she makes excellent use of them.

Track Listing: Right Where I Belong; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Goodbye Pork Pie; The Eyes of Chaz; The Other Side of the Sun; Well You Needn't Call Me; Time and Space; Seagulls; Lovebug Jitters; No Goodbyes; Footprints On My Soul; Ill Wind; Creole Love Call.

Personnel: Lauren Hooker: vocals; Allen Farnham: piano; Rufus Reid: bass; Tim Horner: drums.

Title: Right Where I Belong | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Musical Legends, Inc.

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