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Julie Hardy: The Wish

Mark F. Turner By

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Julie Hardy proves that she is more than just your average jazz singer on The Wish. Hailing from New Hampshire with extensive studies in jazz and classical music, she continues to grow and hone her craft since her auspicious debut recording A Moment's Glance (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2005).

The recording is significant for a number of reasons. First, she is now teamed with the fledgling label World Culture Music, which has released two very notable recordings in 2007—Kendrick Scott Oracle's The Source and Mike Moreno's Between The Lines . Second, she enlists the help of some of jazz's rising new stars including Kendrick Scott (drums), Jaleel Shaw (alto sax), and Ben Monder (guitar). When these elements are aligned with Hardy's talents, the results are striking.

Her voice is crystalline, yet filled with warmth, feeling, and purity. She is capable of fitting into a variety of settings—leading, comping, and interacting—with all of the band members. Her tone is emotive yet without nostalgia on a unique rendition of the Rogers/Hammerstein classic "We Kiss in a Shadow. Neither is she over-sentimental on the gorgeous 1945 classic "I Fall in Love Too Easily, by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, as her voice blends perfectly with Monder's smooth accompaniment.

There's a wealth of good music inside this recording. Hardy's "Wish Suite ("On the Verge, "Patience, and "Soaring ) is exquisitely arranged using improvisation, instrumental voices and vocalese, as she and the band perform harmoniously. Like contemporaries singers Luciana Souza, and Kurt Elling, Hardy uses lyrics and, equally importantly, her voice as an instrument, to artistically convey ideas.

This is most evident on the premiere of "Song of the Iris," saxophonist Wayne Shorter's composition 'Iris' with lyrics. The counterpoised flow between Hardy's voice—walking in harmony with Matt Clohesy's bass line and the other instrument voices—is simply divine. A dissonant versioning of "All or Nothing At All swings heartily with full-bodied solos from saxophonist Sam Sadigursky and pianist Randy Ingram.

There are other luminous moments, including Shaw's searing alto solo on "I'm Looking through You and Monder's celestial strings backing Hardy's angelic voice on "August." And if perfection is the goal then the group's rendition of the "Meaning of The Blues is not far off the mark. Bringing together a defined choreography of vocals and composition, The Wish is a wonderful recording for those who appreciate the sounds of voice, lyrics and instruments in total harmony.

Track Listing: We Kiss in a Shadow; On the Verge (The Wish Suite, Pt. 1); I Wish I Knew; August; I'm Looking Through You; Patience (The Wish Suite, Pt. 2); Song of the Iris; All or Nothing at All; A Lover's Call (Intro to Meaning of the Blues); Meaning of the Blues; Soaring (The Wish Suite, Pt. 3); 3000 Miles; I Fall in Love Too Easily.

Personnel: Julie Hardy: vocals, arrangements, compositions; Ben Monder: guitar (4, 9, 10, 13); Sam Sadigursky: clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax (1, 2, 4, 6, 11, 12); Kendrick Scott: drums; Jaleel Shaw: alto sax (5, 7, 8); Randy Ingram: piano; Matt Clohesy: bass; Kenneth Scott: drums.

Title: The Wish | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: World Culture Music


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