Tierney Sutton: "After Blue"

September 2013

After BlueAn A+ Tribute to Joni Mitchell from Tierney Sutton

BFM Jazz 302062419-2
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
****1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****1/2

When Tierney Sutton was recording for Telarc, I always felt that she had great promise but that she tried too hard, sometimes resulting in uncomfortable grandstanding. But 2011 brought American Road, her first disc for BFM Jazz, and everything seemed to change. Her voice had matured and darkened a bit, and she seemed more at home and less driven to prove a point, which made her all the more able to make those points.

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Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler: "West Coast Cool"

September 2013

West Coast CoolCool Singing and Playing Bring Back an Era

Summit Records DCD 615
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

This saucy, hip CD stems from a live concert that Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler put together in 2010. Bentyne is a Grammy Award-winning singer from the Manhattan Transfer, and Winkler is a staple of West Coast jazz, both as singer and lyricist. Each is an appealing singer alone, but together they're downright irresistible. Not many jazz duos feature a match like this one.

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Lorraine Feather: "Attachments"

September 2013

AttachmentsA Perfect Album from a Brilliant, Multi-Talented Artist

Jazzed Media JM1063
Format: CD

Musical Performance
*****

Sound Quality
*****

Overall Enjoyment
*****

Lorraine Feather was born into music. Her father was Leonard Feather, a jazz pianist, composer, and producer who is best remembered for his journalism -- writing reviews and album notes pertaining to jazz. Her mother was a singer in the big-band era and an ex-roommate of Peggy Lee. And her godmother was none other than Billie Holiday. Being blessed with genes and attention from the best offers no guarantee that one will come out ahead, but in Lorraine Feather's case everything took, and she has become one of the most brilliant and multi-talented artists performing today.

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Lyn Stanley: "Lost in Romance"

August 2013

Lost in RomanceThe Ultimate Album about Love

A.T. Music 3101
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
****1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

The mellow flugelhorn from Gilbert Castellanos sets an elegant and sophisticated tone for "Change Partners," the opening cut from Lyn Stanley's Lost in Romance, a mood to which the rest of the album adheres. Stanley's vocals are so voluptuous and assured that I was surprised to learn that this is her first album. I had thought it was probably another in a string of successes.

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Randi Tytingvåg: "Lights Out"

August 2013

Lights OutSorrow As Life’s Twin

Ozella SW 513 EP
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

A true international sensation, Randi Tytingvåg is a Norwegian singer who records in Germany and sings in English. She has a style that is completely her own. You simply can't peg it, since it contains elements of jazz, cabaret, and pop put together in a unique and effective manner. Her first album, Red, was a huge hit, and it brought her to the attention of American listeners through Ozella Music, a German audiophile recording company.

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Vincent Cross: "A Town Called Normal"

July 2013

A Town Called NormalNot Quite Bluegrass, but Very Good Nonetheless

Self released
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

A good 90 percent of the indie albums we receive for review come from agents that have only indie clients. SoundStage! Network writers recommend about five to seven percent. Then about two to three percent come from the artists themselves. A Town Called Normal is one of the latter. That's sort of ironic, because it sounds like it could have been recorded in West Virginia, where I live.

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Nancy Harms: "Dreams in Apartments"

July 2013

Dreams in ApartmentsNancy Harms -- A Star Ascending

Gazelle Records GNH-002
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

Nancy Harms hails from small-town Minnesota and has developed a sophisticated performing style that couples nicely with a sweet, direct personality. She has a marvel of a voice that will do anything she asks of it. It can be sweet and simple or sultry and dark. She colors her voice to suit whatever a particular song demands. She has a sure sense of both rhythm and pitch and can float some high notes that would make an opera singer jealous.

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Abigail Riccards: "Every Little Star"

June 2013

Every Little StarSweet and Neat Jazz for a Good Cause

Self released
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

This is Abigail Riccards's third album. Perhaps that's why its 12-song playlist seems so comfortable and secure. I like her voice and interpretations, and I surely like her choices in picking repertory. It's been a long time since I've had "I've Told Every Little Star" pass my way, and it's a first that it keeps company with "Circle Game" and "Waltz for Debby."

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George Shearing & Don Thompson: "George Shearing at Home"

June 2013

George Shearing at Home“Just for Fun” Recordings Have Become Treasures

Jazzknight Records JKR001
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

George Shearing became practically a household word when the pianist was under contract with Capitol Records. His recordings comfortably crossed the line between pop and jazz and sold exceptionally well. He was often backed by strings, and did some significant duo albums with Nat King Cole and Nancy Wilson. No doubt, album titles such as Latin Lace, Latin Affair, Beauty and the Beat! (a duo album with Peggy Lee), White Satin, and Black Satin (with voluptuous female models on the cover) helped ease the public's fear that they might be buying a jazz album.

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Matthew Morrison: "Where It All Began"

June 2013

Where It All BeganSuave Vocals and the Ghost of Billy May

222 Records 222RO1
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

I'm a great fan of TV's Glee and have admired Matthew Morrison and his character, Will Schuester, from the first episode. Musically, the show has sometimes gone off the rails, but then it miraculously gets back to center with Morrison and the cast doing what they do best -- show tunes. Remember that tribute to "Make 'Em Laugh," from Singin' in the Rain? One of the most entertaining bits on television in a while.

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