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Vocal Jazz - Released December 21, 2018 | Reborn recordings

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

If there's one word that comes to mind while listening to 2018's The Capitol Studio Sessions -- the debut album from part-time jazz pianist and full-time Jeff Goldblum impersonator Jeff Goldblum -- it's charm. Joking aside, just as with his acting, Goldblum's musical stage presence percolates with his unmistakable charisma, and further cements his long-standing persona as a witty, quirky, gregarious presence. While the album often feels like Goldblum giving one big wink and a smile to his adoring fans after another, part of the fun is that he has the chops to back it up. Having studied piano growing up in Pittsburgh and played lounge gigs throughout much of his career, Goldblum is certainly a gifted performer. While he hands much of the improvisational work over to his bandmates, as a bandleader he acquits himself ably throughout the album, with a warm harmonic sensibility and wonderfully swinging style on full display. Here, he is captured live at the storied Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, backed by his longtime ensemble of studio-pros the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra (lovingly named after a family friend in Pittsburgh). Joining him are a select cadre of special guests including singers Haley Reinhart and Imelda May, trumpeter Till Bronner, and on the giddy, self-referential duet "Me and My Shadow," singer/comedian Sarah Silverman. While Goldblum is the main attraction, he smartly spreads the spotlight, allowing Reinhart and May to sashay their ways through saucy renditions of "My Baby Just Cares For Me," "Straighten Up and Fly Right," and "Come-On-A-My-House." Similarly, he gives Bronner a plethora of solo time, with tracks like the ballad "It Never Entered My Mind," and the organ-accented groover "Don't Mess with Mister T.” One of the many impressive aspects of the Capitol Studio Sessions is just how balanced Goldblum's skills are as he deftly moves his audience from perky vocal standards to swinging instrumental numbers -- each transition aided, of course, with some very charming stage banter. ~ Matt Collar
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Vocal Jazz - Released November 9, 2018 | Decca (UMO)

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Vocal Jazz - Released September 7, 2018 | NKR Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 23, 2018 | Fresh Sound Records

Vocal Jazz - Released April 6, 2018 | ODIN

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 23, 2018 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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Continuing the fruitful creative partnership that began with 2016's Upward Spiral, vocalist Kurt Elling once again pairs with saxophonist Branford Marsalis for the lyrical, ruminative 2018 effort The Questions. Joining them are pianist Joey Calderazzo, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, guitarist John McLean, pianist Stu Mindeman, bassist Clark Sommers, and trumpeter Marquis Hill. As the title implies, the album finds Elling in deeply contemplative mood, delving into songs rife with existential themes of human suffering, and the hope for a better world. While that may sound like a serious-minded slog, it never gets bogged down. Rather, this is a well-curated set of songs, done in Elling's usual sophisticated, literate, and uplifting style. Instead of playing standards here (though the album ends on an inspired reading of Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer's "Skylark"), Elling and Marsalis (who also produced) move toward songs that are further afield of the jazz tradition. There is a poetic quality to many of the song choices that reflect Elling's longstanding love of spoken word, beginning with his soulful opening rendition of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's-a-Gonna Fall." Moving from a spare, soulful a cappella intro to a wave-like full-band arrangement, the song works to set the album's overall tone of thoughtful, existential questioning. Similarly engaging are his takes on Paul Simon's "American Song" and his subdued, gospel-inflected version of Peter Gabriel's "Washing of the Water." As with many of his past albums, he also adds his own literary spin to several pieces, including taking Carla Bley's sweetly attenuated piece "Lawns" and combining it with his own lyrics, and a poem by writer Sara Teasdale, turning it into "Endless Lawns." Similarly, he adds lyrics to Jaco Pastorius' instrumental "Three Views of a Secret," drawing inspiration from the work of 13th Century poet Rumi and transforming the song into his own "A Secret in Three Views." Musically, while the core of The Questions sounds like an acoustic jazz album, the overall sound is much more of a hybrid, weaving in elements of contemporary folk, classical, Latin, and even new age. That said, there are certainly stellar bits of improvisation, including a warm, harmonic flügelhorn solo from Hill on "Lonely Town," and a spiraling soprano sax section from Marsalis on "I Have Dreamed." Ultimately, all of this works to frame Elling's textured, highly resonant vocals and heartfelt message. As he sings on "Skylark," "Haven't you heard the music in the night? Beautiful music." ~ Matt Collar
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 23, 2018 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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It doesn’t look like it, but isn’t Kurt Elling the best jazz singer of his generation? The idea of any competition, or any ranking, is obviously ludicrous, not to say stupid, but it is evident that album after album, the singer from Chicago pursues a journey that is almost flawless. In 2015, with Passion World, Elling revisited Nicht Wandle, Mein Licht taken from Brahms‘ Liebeslieder, but also pieces penned by U2, Pat Metheny, Björk, not forgetting La Vie en rose and even a poem by James Joyce! For this eleventh album that is as eclectic as possible, he abandoned his acrobatics, that only he knows the secrets of, for a more languorous and sensual style, a singing that he delivered with a lot of sophistication. His range of expression, as well as the impressive accuracy of his enunciation, is once again on the menu of a feast of covers that is just as perfect. With The Questions, Kurt Elling tackles this time Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Jaco Pastorius, Leonard Bernstein, Carla Bley, Johnny Mercer and a few others. Produced by saxophonist Branford Marsalis, this twelfth opus gathers pianist Joey Calderazzo, drummer Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, guitarist John McLean, organ player Stu Mindeman, trumpet player Marquis Hill and bass player Clark Sommers. It’s a fine selection of virtuosos in the service of a singer that manages to impose his style and the roundness of his voice, even on classics that have been covered by everyone on earth like Skylark. It is classy, and already a classic. © Max Dembo/Qobuz

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2018 | Emerald Echoes

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 23, 2017 | Quimbaya Entretenimiento S.A.S.

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 1, 2017 | Verve Reissues

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True fans of Ella Fitzgerald must be having a hard time trying to find storage space for the live albums of their idol, since there are so many of them. And yet, this one, completely new, is rather special as it proposes a concert offered in Hollywood’s Zardi’s Jazzland on 2nd February, 1956 - a few days before she recorded her first disc for Verve. Originally recorded by Norman Granz to celebrate this signature on his label, these two sets will in the end remain in the archives to the detriment of Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book, a studio disc that would launch her series of albums devoted to the songbooks of the great American authors… In this year 1956, Ella Fitzgerald is almost 40 already and is far from being unknown. But her transition from Decca to Verve would finally propel her into a completely new level of fame. We hear her here full of exuberance, joy and energy. Her voice is astoundingly fluid, and her sense of rhythm is difficult to surpass. And even when she forgets part of the text, the great entertainer that she is takes over and the adoration from the audience doesn’t waiver one bit. As for her repertoire, she makes the masterpieces her own, penned by Duke Ellington (In A Mellow Tone), Cole Porter (My Heart Belongs To Daddy), Jerome Kern (A Fine Romance) and the Gershwin brothers (S'Wonderful, I've Got a Crush On You). As for the disciples to this voice, we find the pianist Don Abney, bass player Vernon Alley and drummer Frank Capp - all impeccable bodyguards, even if later, musicians of a completely different level will assist the singer. It’s very touching to hear, in the first seconds of the disc, Norman Granz tell the Californian audience: “For me she’s the greatest there is: Miss Ella Fitzgerald!” © MZ/Qobuz

Vocal Jazz - Released November 27, 2017 | Quimbaya Entretenimiento S.A.S.

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Vocal Jazz - Released June 18, 2007 | Capitol Records

A reasonable sampler featuring several Wilson hits from the '60s and '70s. Although it's impossible to fully convey the depth of her career from one album, this set at least didn't skimp on the jazz and blues numbers that earned her her reputation. ~ Ron Wynn
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 20, 1958 | Capitol Records

Many of singer June Christy's popular Capitol albums feature her cool-toned vocals backed by an orchestra. This recording is an exception. Christy excels on a jazz-oriented set with a nonet that includes trumpeter Ed Leddy, trombonist Frank Rosolino and her husband Bob Cooper (who arranged the set) on tenor and oboe. Christy accurately called this music "intimate swing." Her versions of such songs as "I'm Glad There Is You," "My One and Only Love," "When Lights Are Low" and "Blue Moon" are tasteful, sincere and often quite memorable. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 13, 2001 | Verve Reissues

With the swanky midnight mood of their previous collaboration Here's to Life in mind, Shirley Horn and arranger Johnny Mandel go at it again -- a move that is sure to send her legions of latter-day fans into blissful orbit. This time, though, the six sophisticated string-laden ballads are interspersed with five relatively short, swinging numbers with just Horn, her trio, and various instrumental guests. As a result, you get a better balanced album, not weighted too much in one direction or another. Mandel's orchestrations are paragons of subtlety, sometimes creeping almost imperceptibly like a slow moving fog upon Horn's trio. Like his singer, Mandel respects the value of silence and space; they're a well matched pair, their different ideas of timing dovetail together neatly. Though some of us would have wanted Horn and her jazzmen to stretch out more on the small group tracks, they do serve effectively as breathers, or intermezzos, in between the languorous collaborations with Mandel. In lieu of the participation of Wynton Marsalis (who contributed to Here's to Life), Carl Saunders offers some soulful trumpet obbligato work on "Solitary Moon." Guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Brian Bromberg also appear on the small group tracks -- Malone even does a soft focused rockabilly thing on "Why Don't You Do Right?" -- while bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams stoke the rhythm in Horn's trio. Another worthy stylish outing for Horn. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Vocal Jazz - Released May 5, 2017 | Verve

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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 January 20, 2017 | Concord Jazz

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Vocal Jazz - Released November 11, 2016 | Meander Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released July 1, 1963 | Impulse!

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Vocal Jazz - Released September 13, 1965 | Istjdigital

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Vocal Jazz in the magazine