Albums

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 7, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Even the Guinness Book of Records says so: Ron Carter has been involved in the production of over 2,200 albums! At 82 years old, the double bass player extraordinaire still has things left to say. And he does so here, with this live album co-written with Danny Simmons. Not very well known in Europe, Simmons is none other than the older brother of Joseph Simmons (Run in Run-DMC) and Russell Simmons (producer and co-founder of label Def Jam). A painter, galley-owner, poet and novelist, he is also the co-founder of Def Poetry Jam, an event dedicated to slammers, poets and all other wordsmiths. For this Brown Beatnik Tomes − Live at BRIC House, he had a very precise idea: “I was trying to imagine myself as a Beat Generation poet in the '50s, and how my concerns would be a bit different from Lawrence Ferlinghetti's or Allen Ginsberg's. In a way, the beatniks romanticized black people. They were hip, but they didn't really see the plight. That scene largely was about the Negro experience but didn't have the Negro in it.” Ron Carter, who was in his twenties at the time of Kerouac’s Beat Generation, is on the same wavelength: “I was not participating in the Beat movement. Those were white guys saying what they were saying. I was playing with people like [folk singer] Leon Bibb. A similar thing was happening in the black community, and my music was trying to support that.” Here, their back-and-forth, composed with pianist Donald Vega and guitarist Russell Malone (along with playwright, actress and activist Liza Jessie Peterson on Where Do I Begin), combines spontaneity and themes that are rooted in history; a way to highlight the timelessness of its subject matters. Of course, English-speakers will get the most out of this literate and engaging album. A record that draws its might from Ron Carter’s double bass, which perfectly complements Danny Simmons’ lyrics and heighten their power. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released June 7, 2019 | Jazz Eleven

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In 2018, Sarah Lancman released À Contretemps, a beautiful album recorded with Giovanni Mirabassi, one of the most talented pianists of his generation. After Dark in 2014 and Inspiring Love in 2016, the Quincy Jones-endorsed singer once again managed − without abusing any stylistic effect − to magnify the melodies she was performing. A year later, Lancman once again joined forces with Mirabassi for a tribute to Italian music, covering and adapting eternal themes such as Senza Fine, Sabato Italiano, Il Poeta, Estate, Vedrai Vedrai and Ach, Che Sera, Che Sera. Saxophonist Olivier Bogé lends them a hand on three tracks. Refined and inspired, Intermezzo is a beautiful way to rediscover the Italian repertoire. Adorned with jazzy colours, these covers take on the form of instant classics. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released May 21, 2019 | RevOla

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Vocal Jazz - Released February 25, 2019 | RevOla

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 13, 2019 | RevOla

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 13, 2019 | RevOla

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 13, 2019 | RevOla

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 13, 2019 | RevOla

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 13, 2019 | RevOla

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Vocal Jazz - Released May 4, 2018 | Silvertone

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She loves Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot and she doesn't care who knows it. But Hailey Tuck does have a little something of her own up her sleeve. It's a personal touch that makes this young Texan, who has made landfall in Paris, an attractive voice in its own right, and not a pale imitation of anyone else. Larry Klein, who produced her two idols, even agreed to put together the first album of this starlet who shares a hairdresser with Louise Brooks, and a wardrobe with Josephine Baker. Klein even put together a perfect and never over-produced backdrop, with the help of some five-star studio musicians like drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John, Robert Plant) and guitarist Dean Parks (Joe Cocker, Steely Dan)… In terms of their repertoire, the eclecticism and quality of these covers also displays thoroughgoing good taste. And the fact that she revisits That Don't Make It Junk by Leonard Cohen, Cry To Me, made famous Solomon Burke, Cactus Tree by Joni Mitchell, Some Other Time by Leonard Bernstein, Underwear by Pulp, Alcohol by the Kinks, Junk by Paul McCartney, I Don’t Care Much from the soundtrack to Cabaret and indeed the wonderful Say You Don’t Mind by Colin Blunstone, Hailey Tuck deploys her voice intelligently and with a dash of retro in every word and every phrase. Let this beautiful and timeless Qobuzissime carry you away... © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released November 9, 2018 | Okeh

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Vocal Jazz - Released November 9, 2018 | Decca (UMO)

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Vocal Jazz - Released October 20, 2017 | Okeh

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Her voice is already a shrine by itself. A shrine in which all the world standards shine brightly. But this time, the shrine is for Stacey Kent a carpet of strings. With I Know I Dream, the singer from New Jersey makes the experience even silkier. Recorded in the famous Angel Studios in London with a phalanx of sixty musicians and meticulously produced by Tommy Lawrence and Jim Tomlinson (Mister Stacey Kent in real life), this album offers rearranged themes to reach some sort of nirvana of depth, intimacy and delight. A true grace that above all avoids the trappings into which the vocal jazz discs sometimes fall… Where the repertoire is concerned, Stacey Kent remembers her love of jazz, of French songs (Juliette Gréco, Léo Ferré and Nino Ferrer come to mind) and Brazilian music (Tom Jobim). As always with her, there’s a love of storytelling and a deep passion for language and words. These are essential things that Stacey Kent perfectly merges in the ocean of strings of this rare pearl of a disc. © CM/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 7, 2018 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Kandace Springs is a reincarnation of the great soul divas. Divine beauty, a charming name, since she released her first album, all eyes have been on this young woman. Soul Eyes, released on Blue Note in 2014, saw her float away into a sublime cloud of soul-jazz with pop highlights. Four years later, she is attracting attention with a full different creation, named Indigo. Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone are just a few names of her childhood influences, names that are still casting their spell over her performances. A warm timbre, a supple and delicate diction that goes hand in hand with her mastery of the piano, Indigo is a stunning mix of covers and original pieces written by Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken. The album opens on the pop-romantic overture Don't Need The Real Thing; funk airs follow on People Make The World Go 'Round and a jazzy instrumental on Unsophisticated: Springs seems unsure about where to really let her voice take off, but it works! She is testing out her capacities and limits in some contradictory registers. Fix Me even ventures into classical, with a mix of Prélude opus 28 n°4 by Chopin, imitation Gainsbourg and a more soulful Jane B sound. It's an unexpected mix but it is all brought together marvellously by the smoke timbre of this winning singer. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 22, 2017 | Masterworks

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His escapades towards soul, pop and folk music are not completely new. Except that with 1970, Avishai Cohen jumps feet first with a whole album into… soul, pop and folk music! The Israeli bass player admittedly never forgets the jazz soul in his music; he simply pays homage here to sounds, textures and universes that he grew up with. A mostly sung journey (both in English and in Hebrew) that he undertakes with numerous guests such as Itamar Doari on percussion, Yael Shapira on cello, Elyasaf Bishari on oud, Tal Kohavi on drums, Yonatan Daskal on keyboards and Karen Malka at the microphone. As Avishai Cohen says it himself: “it’s not a jazz record. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always had a connection to pop. I like pop as much as I like Bach and Charlie Parker. Singing has become very serious in my life over time. I’ve been asked by many people, when is the vocal album gonna come? Well, this is it, right here.” © CM/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 27, 2017 | Blue Note (BLU)

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It is important to realize that Norah Jones is not just a famous persona waving from the cover of a glossy magazine, or simply “a pretty face". The truth is far deeper... Day Breaks is further evidence of her undeniable talent, but also of a tangible artistic evolution. Mixing beautiful original compositions with a sprinkling of great classics (Horace Silver, Neil Young and Duke Ellington), the sixth album from the New Yorker who grew up in Texas brings her many and diverse passions together in one place.  Always lying within the realms of jazz, soul, pop and folk, it is her sincere and visceral love for the former that inhabits this stylish album, which doesn't dwell in the past for a single second. Over the years, the piano (much like her vocals) have toggled between nonchalance and pugnacity. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade are among the accomplices invited to the party here, and the experience of those involved is truly telling. Somehow, Day Breaks manages to see eye to eye with Come Away With Me, her first disc released back in 2002, and one that propelled her to the top of the charts. This 2016 vintage is even more structured than previous efforts. Mastered to perfection, the latest effort serves to epitomize the grace and beauty of this timeless artist. © MZ / Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 2, 2018 | Okeh

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After a beautiful homage to Nat King Cole, the most French of the British singers flew out to New Orleans in order to record new compositions with his fellow travelers, a local brass band and the virtuoso guitarist Freddy Koella, co-director of Who’s Happy ?. Dancing percussion, brass instruments filled with soul, guitars blending blues and jazz, nothing is missing from his groovy fiesta that is sometimes punctuated nostalgic and laidback overtones and in which Hugh Coltman managed to slip in his personal touch. There resides the strength of a disc which respects tradition that he tackles with a contemporary eye. It is worth noting the participation of Melissa Laveaux on Hand Me Downs. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 9, 2014 | Laborie Jazz

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Vocal Jazz - Released February 14, 2012 | Motema

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Gregory Porter's sophomore effort confirms the talent that was so apparent on his debut. He's developed greater technique and subtlety in his impressive singing. The '70s soul is still quite apparent in his voice, with shades of Donny Hathaway and Bill Withers, but he's also the vocal heir to Nat King Cole. He's becoming a major talent, not just as a singer but also as a composer, with a unique, elliptical style, both for melodies and lyrics, which is quite evident when held up against the covers here. Porter is also acutely aware of dynamics, able to move smoothly from the softness of "Imitation of Life" to the almost atonality of the raucous "Bling Bling," which also features some excellent scat singing. His own material isn't immediately memorable, but insinuates itself into the brain after a few hearings, sophisticated and often beautiful. He keeps his soul/blues credentials alive with a version of "Work Song" that allows him to go full-throated against some honking sax. To finish, there's an a cappella version of "God Bless the Child," a song forever associated with Billie Holiday. It's a daring move, and one that works as it showcases the tenderness in his voice, with an almost liquid quality in the singing, the emotions hinted at rather than laid out. It's a superb climax to a disc that should certainly help Porter's star rise even further. ~ Chris Nickson
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 5, 2012 | Jazz Village

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Vocal Jazz in the magazine