Albums

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Vocal Jazz - Released February 22, 2019 | Mack Avenue Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released March 22, 2013 | ACT Music

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Vocal Jazz - Released May 19, 2017 | ACT Music

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What better way of making a new record than surrounding yourself with new collaborators? That was the idea that Youn Sun Nah had for She Moves On. Four years after Lento, the Korean singer has taken on a close-knit group comprising John Zorn, Jamie Saft on the piano, the Hammond organ, the Fender Rhodes and the Wurlitzer (he also produced the record), and Brad Jones on the bass alongside drummer Dan Rieser, who worked with Norah Jones in Little Willies. But it is above all the presence of the guitarist Marc Ribot on five of these eleven tracks that draws attention. Surrounded by these four strong personalities, Youn Sun Nah explores a fairly varied repertoire that owes as much to rock as to folk, to rhythms as to lyrics, taking in covers of Joni Mitchell (The Dawntreader), Paul Simon (She Moves On), Lou Reed (Teach The Gifted Children), Jimi Hendrix (Drifting with a searing solo from Ribot) or the traditional Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair. Three original compositions, Traveller, Evening Star and Too Late, complete this album which is resolutely inspired by American music and which presents her impressive voice in a context which rightly recalls Norah Jones, or Melody Gardot. But Youn Sun Nah's vocal personality is strong enough that she never seems to be stepping on her illustrious sisters’ toes, and she offers, from the outset, a record that is all her own. © MD/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released December 7, 2018 | Exile Productions Ltd.

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The prophet has returned! Van Morrison, he who brought us the timeless Gloria and Brown Eyed Girl, steps back in time for his new album The Prophet Speaks. The Irish bard delves into the world of jazz, blues and rhythm’n’blues with his renditions of classics from John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke, Willie Dixon and Soloman Burke, to name but a few. Such are the talents of Van The Man that he even includes six of his own compositions (Got to Go Where The Love Is, 5am Greenwich Mean Time, Love Is Hard Work, Spirit Will Provide, Ain’t Gonna Moan No More and The Prophet Speaks) within the genre of jazz’n’blues’n’soul. “It was important for me to get back to recording new music as well as doing some of the blues material that has inspired me from the beginning” he says. Once again, the album features its fair share of musical virtuosos, including killer organist Joey DeFrancesco (who co-wrote You’re Driving Me Crazy with Morrison), guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Michael Ode and saxophonist Troy Roberts. A classy and classical album that doesn’t look to reinvent the genre but rather to revive its original soul. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 14, 2018 | Verve

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Two generations. Two styles. Two voices. And an album in common… For about twenty years, crooner Tony Bennett and singer and pianist Diana Krall had produced a few duos here and there, but never an entire album. With this Love Is Here To Stay, they jumped right in and involved another five-star tandem in their enchanted parenthesis of refined vocal jazz: George and Ira Gershwin. They went digging through the vast repertoire of the most famous brothers of 20th American popular music to create this album that seems from another time, produced with the trio of impeccable pianist Bill Charlap, Peter Washington on the double bass and Kenny Washington on drums… Tackling the Great American Songbook is always a redeeming and almost necessary baptism of fire for any worthy jazz singer. And these two didn’t wait for 2018 to do it. Here, each one excels in what they do best, even if, at 92 years of age, Tony Bennett obviously doesn’t have the same organ as he did when he sung I Left My Heart In San Francisco, which made him popular in 1962. Sinatra’s favourite singer knows it, and manages to find a range in line with his vocal condition. The result is particularly touching. A great professional, Diana Krall adapted her singing to the New Yorker, turning their exchanges into endearing, slightly retro flirting. The 38 years between them become the main asset of an old-fashioned yet delightful album. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note

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After two solid albums on Motema, both of which earned Grammy nominations, singer and songwriter Gregory Porter makes his Blue Note debut with Liquid Spirit. A singer whose quicksilver vocal style refuses to be caged by either jazz, gospel, or R&B, his warm, inviting baritone utilizes them all when he wishes to. Using the musicians who appeared with him on 2012's Be Good -- Yosuke Sato and Tivon Pennicott, saxophones; Chip Crawford, piano; Aaron James, bass, Emanuel Harrold, drums -- Porter wrote or co-wrote 11 of these 14 songs. There is a dynamite reading of Billy Page's hard-grooving "The In Crowd" that highlights Porter's rhythmic phrasing. Though it's a soul tune at heart, he swings hard. The cover of Max Roach's and Abbey Lincoln's "Lonesome Lover" evokes the soulful post-bop spirit of the original and offers a bracing portrait of the singer's command of his own upper range. Covers aside, the real strength of Liquid Spirit lies in Porter's songs: his lyrics and melodies are as rich as his voice. Opener "No Love Dying Here" walks a line between jazz and soul; its life-affirming words are underscored by the effortless conviction and authority in his vocal, while Sato's alto saxophone solo affirms the lyric. The fingerpopping, handclapping gospel groove in the title track is punched up by saxophones and Curtis Taylor's trumpet. The call-and-response between Porter and James' bass is tasty, and one can hear a trace of Donny Hathaway in the singer's commanding, heartfelt delivery. "Hey Laura" is characterized by Porter's relaxed but utterly sincere delivery, and packs a knock-out emotional punch in his protagonist's plea to the object of his affection. "Brown Grass" is a close second in the emotional punch department; it's a love song to be sure, but a sadder one. Porter articulates his protagonist's regrets simply and honestly, and therefore resonantly. For all of his innovative ability to effortlessly combine, shift, and shape various musical genres in his own image, Porter is militantly old school -- check "Musical Genocide," as he celebrates the music of the past with a popping piano, hard-grooving horns, funky Rhodes, and swelling B-3. On the tender ballad "Wolfcry," he is accompanied only by Crawford; it's so hip and melodically rich, it could easily have been sung by a young Nat Cole. The way he and his band move through blues, jazz, gospel, and R&B -- simultaneously -- on the declamatory testimonial "Free" is breathtaking. The intro to "Movin'," near set's end, suggests Bill Withers, but Porter quickly shifts it into higher gear with the horns punctuating the ends of his sung lines. While his first two recordings revealed a major new talent with their promise, Liquid Spirit is a giant step forward artistically, and for the listener, an exercise in musical inspiration. ~ Thom Jurek
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released August 7, 2016 | 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 May 28, 2012 | Decca (UMO)

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Vocal Jazz - Released April 3, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released October 27, 2017 | Blue Note

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It’s always good when the genius of an artist is rekindled. With this luxurious album, Gregory Porter puts his body and soul into the repertoire of one of his idols: Nat King Cole. A unique musician who slalomed between pure jazz and easy listening, a virtuosic pianist, an innovator with a great finesse, and, clearly, a fascinating singer/crooner equipped with a velvet voice, profound and romantic, recognizable by all, Nat King Cole is in good hands here! He has one of the most impressive soul’n’jazz voices of the past few years. Above all, Gregory Porter has a much richer and more complex soul to that of his peers, with all due respect! For Nat King Cole is a common theme in the life of the Californian forty-year-old who knows every nook and cranny of the Great Black Music. "He was one of a kind. He left such great music - such beautiful things to listen to that you can’t help but be influenced by that extraordinary timbre, style, and ultimate cool… I wrote this little song when I was five and put it on a tape and played it for my mother when she came home from work. She said ‘Boy you sound just like Nat King Cole’! I remember thinking how strange that name was, going through her records, and first seeing his image: this elegant, handsome, strong man sitting by the fire, looking like somebody’s daddy. Then I put the vinyl on the player and out of those speakers came that voice, that nurturing sound. It filled a void in me. My father wasn’t in my life; he wasn’t raising me; he wasn’t showing any interest in me. So Nat’s words, ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again’ - all of these life lessons and words of wisdom were like fatherly advice. They were coming out of the speakers like Nat was singing those words just to me. I would listen to his albums and imagine that Nat was my father." This love for Nat King Cole’s music pushed him to adopt the jazzman as a substitute father! Furthermore, after having played in the musical It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, Porter decided to take his relationship to Cole to the stage by writing Nat King Cole & Me, a largely autobiographical musical that showed for the first time in 2004. "In a certain way I tried to find my father. I wrote it after my father died. This spectacle, for which I composed most of the music, speaks about Nat King Cole. But mostly in the way in which I got closer to his music because of the absence of my father. It was like a kind of therapy that I prescribed to myself. Almost 800 people came to watch each night." With help from the arranger Vince Mendoza and with a group composed of the pianist Christian Sands, the bassist Reuben Rogers and the drummer Ulysses Owens, Gregory Porter will satisfy the needs of fans of the singer/pianist who died in 1965. © CM/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released August 27, 2013 | Bethlehem Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released April 27, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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Vocal Jazz - Released September 28, 2018 | Mack Avenue Records

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After bursting onto the scene in 2013 with the brilliant WomanChild, Cécile McLorin Salvant raised the bar two years later with For One To Love, an even more impressive and complete album on which her voice worked wonders, and the more traditional Dreams & Daggers, recorded live at the Village Vanguard and the DiMenna Center with her faithful trio, the Quatuor Catalyst and the pianist Sullivan Fortner. She chose only to work with the latter of the two for her 2018 vintage album titled The Window. Born on August 28th, 1989 in Miami, Florida, she studied French law, baroque and vocal jazz in Aix-en-Provence in France before winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010 (at only 20 years old, in front of a panel of judges made up of Al Jarreau, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Patti Austin, Dianne Reeves and Kurt Elling!). For this album she decided on a vocal-piano duet. A baptism of fire which further demonstrates her astounding vocal ability. It is an album that also focuses on the complex nature of love through covers of songs by Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein and even Stevie Wonder. This is further proof that Cécile McLorin Salvant is anything but the cliché of a jazz singer, as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis puts it: “ You get a singer like this once in a generation or two…” © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 30, 2014 | Bethlehem Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Impulse!

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Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Hit That Jive Jack." Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber "I'm Through With Love" and "If I Had You." Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of "Hit That Jive Jack," although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall's vocal on "If I Had You," and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released June 28, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Vocal Jazz - Released September 15, 2017 | Concord Records

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The grace of Grace is everywhere! Granted Lizz Wright’s fans know that the Georgian singer has one of the most beautiful voices of her generation, but this album places her on rarely visited summits! A feeling no doubt connected to the theme of this 2017 cuvée, in which Wright provides a striking insight into a network of stories and songs which roots, intimately intertwined, extend deep and connect extremely diverse traditions that make up the soul of the Deep South. Produced by Joe Henry, one of the big shots of Americana, this southern celebration where jazz, blues, rock and gospel interweave allow her to shine in reinterpretations of songs by Ray Charles (What Would I Do), Allen Toussaint (Southern Nights), Nina Simone (Seems I’m Never Tired Lovin’ You), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Singing in My Soul), k.d. lang (Wash Me Clean) or Bob Dylan (Every Grain Of Sand). In the more intimate sequences, when she doesn’t use her technical virtuosity, Lizz Wright is sublime and further appropriates this repertoire that flows through her veins. Her version of Southern Nights is refined, never complacent, and gifted with a subtlety that defines the entire album. © MD/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released April 3, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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