Albums

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 7, 2018 | Decca (UMO)

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Jacob Collier, the young prodigy whose career was spring-boarded by the popularity of his YouTube videos, has made a name for himself by fusing jazz and vocals with groove, folk, trip-hop, classical, Brazilian gospel and soul. His first album in 2016, the aptly titled In My Room (a reference to his cover of the Beach Boys song with the same name), was influenced by great soul artists like Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin and Ed Motta. Two years later with Djesse Vol.1 which he recorded with the Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley, Collier reveals a new facet to his musical talent and ability to think outside of the box. For this album, he wrote the compositions and arrangements and clearly moves away from jazz to embrace a variety of genres: pop, gospel, musical, world, soul, the list is endless. His symphonic and melodious music is supported by the voices of groups Take 6 and Voces8, soul sister Laura Mvula, Moroccan Hamid El Kasri and even his own mother, Suzie Collier. In this musical pick-and-mix, Jacob Collier even covers Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic from The Police and All Night Long from Lionel Richie to make this journey even crazier. © Clotilde Maréchal/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 November 23, 2018 | Warner Music Entertainment

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Jools Holland, the musical virtuoso, director and well-loved host of the BBC 2 programme Later… with Jools Holland since 1992, joins forces with the first-rate vocals of Marc Almond and the musicians of the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. This musical extravaganza is full to the brim with pure entertainment, original songs as well as traditional ones (When the Saints Go Marching In) and classics from Edith Piaf (L’Hymne à l’amour), Irving Berlin (How Deep Is The Ocean) and Bobby “Blue” Bland (It’s My Life Baby and I’ll take Care Of You), not forgetting the hit single Tainted Love that Almond sang in 1981 whilst part of the duo Soft Cell. On this album, A Lovely Life to Live, the pair go on an incredible journey exploring the timelessness of rhythm’n’blues and rock’n’soul. As Marc Almond himself says: “If this album were a film, it would be a black and white film from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, set in London with Dirk Bogarde, with a brief stopover in Paris where he would meet Deneuve and Delon in a smoky bar. Jools and I have a history of working together that goes back several years and now, on the album, we can finally show our shared love for Bogarde, London, vintage cars, afternoon tea and the blues.." © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 28, 2018 | Okeh

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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 May 15, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released April 27, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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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
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Vocal Jazz - Released February 16, 2018 | ECM

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Norma Winstone has found a dream home with the ECM label, a house in her own image… As part of Azimuth, the trio that she formed between 1977 and 2000 with trumpet player Kenny Wheeler and pianist John Taylor, her husband; or alone, the British artist has always been a jazz singer apart. Here, Norma Winstone brings her unique timbre to the big screen. She covers the films of Scorsese (Taxi Driver), Godard (My Life to Live), Wenders (Lisbon Story), Jewison (The Thomas Crown Affair), Zeffirelli (Romeo and Juliette), De Sica (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow) and several others. With Descansado which she dedicated to her late colleagues John and Kenny, she has chosen a great repertoire of scores from composers such as Bernard Hermann, Michel Legrand, Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota and William Walton. The stripped-down and original arrangements from German saxophonist and clarinettist Klaus Gesing and Italian pianist Glauco Venier give her room to assume complete ownership of this music, which we never imagined in a jazz or quasi-chamber music setting. Norwegian percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken and Italian cellist Mario Brunello came to round off this team of discerning artists who give this music an utterly fascinating, velvet light. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Vocal Jazz - Released January 19, 2018 | Jazz Eleven

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Validated by Quincy Jones, Sarah Lancman merrily follows in her path with an album recorded alongside Giovanni Mirabassi - one of the most gifted pianists of his generation. With meticulously accurate rhythmics composed by double bass player Gianluca Renzi and drummer Gene Jackson, the Parisian singer once again imposes the sensuality of her pure singing. After Dark in 2014 and Inspiring Love in 2016, she manages once more, without abusing any effect, to magnify the melodies she tackles. It’s also worth noting the guest appearance of the Japanese singer and trumpet player Toku. © CM/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released November 10, 2017 | Decca (UMO)

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It’s always some kind of baptism of fire. Not a prerequisite but a way to measure oneself to one’s colleagues from yesterday and today. With the aptly named Standards, his tenth studio album, Seal climbs the Everest of the great jazz and swing classics. After three decades, the Brit doesn’t have anything to prove anymore about the soul quality of his voice. But this retro-flavored enchanted digression reminds us of how this powerful and sultry organ can master any repertoire. Recorded for the most part in the famous Capitol studios in Los Angeles, precisely where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat “King” Cole and many others have recorded some of their greatest discs, Standards has incidentally been created with the help of musicians that have assisted these great voices. We find pianist Randy Waldman (Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka), bass player Chuck Berghofer (Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles) and drummer Greg Fields (Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder), all gathered so that Seal would give his reinterpretations of Autumn Leaves, I Put A Spell On You, Love For Sale, My Funny Valentine, I've Got You Under My Skin, Smile, I'm Beginning To See The Light and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow. “This is the album I have always wanted to make, explains the concerned party. I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless tunes was a lifelong dream. It was a true honour to collaborate with the same musicians who performed with Frank Sinatra and so many of my favourite artists, in the very same studios where the magic was first made – it was one of the greatest days of my recording career.” We can easily imagine that… © CM/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released November 10, 2017 | Decca (UMO)

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It’s always some kind of baptism of fire. Not a prerequisite but a way to measure oneself to one’s colleagues from yesterday and today. With the aptly named Standards, his tenth studio album, Seal climbs the Everest of the great jazz and swing classics. After three decades, the Brit doesn’t have anything to prove anymore about the soul quality of his voice. But this retro-flavored enchanted digression reminds us of how this powerful and sultry organ can master any repertoire. Recorded for the most part in the famous Capitol studios in Los Angeles, precisely where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat “King” Cole and many others have recorded some of their greatest discs, Standards has incidentally been created with the help of musicians that have assisted these great voices. We find pianist Randy Waldman (Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka), bass player Chuck Berghofer (Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles) and drummer Greg Fields (Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder), all gathered so that Seal would give his reinterpretations of Autumn Leaves, I Put A Spell On You, Love For Sale, My Funny Valentine, I've Got You Under My Skin, Smile, I'm Beginning To See The Light and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow. “This is the album I have always wanted to make, explains the concerned party. I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless tunes was a lifelong dream. It was a true honour to collaborate with the same musicians who performed with Frank Sinatra and so many of my favourite artists, in the very same studios where the magic was first made – it was one of the greatest days of my recording career.” We can easily imagine that… © CM/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 27, 2017 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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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 October 27, 2017 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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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 September 15, 2017 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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Back to square one for Denise Eileen Garrett a.k.a. Dee Dee Bridgewater: Memphis! The very city where she was born on the May 27th, 1950. The Frenchiest American singer releases here a tribute to one of the United States’ most musical city. A city she left with her parents at three old to move to industrial Flint, in Michigan. But her career proves that those three years were enough to shape the rest. Recorded in the famous Royal Studios in Memphis, and produced by Kirk Whalum and Lawrence Mitchell (grandson of Hi Records’ Willie Mitchell), the album gathers together carefully selected local gems of soul and blues. Classics interpreted for instance by Otis Redding (Try A Little Tenderness), B.B. King (The Thrill Is Gone), Soul Children (The Sweeter He Is written by Isaac Hayes and Dave Porter), Elvis Presley (Don’t Be Cruel and Hound Dog), Carla Thomas (B-A-B-Y also by the Hayes/Porter duo) and Al Green (I Can't Get Next To You written by Barrett Strong), to which Dee Dee Bridgewater gives her trademark and immensely enjoyable boosts. After celebrating New Orleans in Dee Dee’s Feathers, here comes another tribute, equally classy, perhaps groovier and with more dancing, but which demonstrates that everything her voice touches usually turns to gold. © CM/Qobuz
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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 August 11, 2017 | Quiet Money Recordings

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Away from the limelight, Liane Carroll keeps on perfecting her art, to the point of being considered as one of the best British jazz singers of the last twenty years. In The Right To Love, the Londoner lets her warm voice wander on highly eclectic songs, from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Hoagy Carmichael, Jacques Brel, Lalo Schifrin, Tom Waits and Carole King. A broad repertoire that she assimilates to shape an incredibly classy moment. Most importantly Carroll avoids all the genre’s clichés and deeply magnifies these themes with a staggering breath of soul and an internal storm that aptly stays away from technical grandstanding. She recorded this album with pianists Mark Edwards and Malcolm Edmonstone, guitarist Mark Jaimes, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, bassists Loz Garratt and Roger Carey and drummers Ralph Salmins and Russell Field. Stunning! © MD/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released April 21, 2017 | jazz family

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 27, 2017 | Eden River Records

Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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