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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

CD Review: Lauren Henderson – The Songbook Session

Lauren Henderson (vocals); Sullivan Fortner (piano); Eric Wheeler (bass); Allan Mednard (drums, percussion)

We never sleep at BSH, not even during a pandemic, so I now find myself reviewing from a digital download. A hazard of this is that the tracks aren't quite the same as stated in the publicity sheet, so there are a couple of extra tracks here for good measure. I'm not complaining as these standards are imaginatively interpreted, with superb musicianship from the instrumentalists, who are given lots of space to display their work, with some tracks rounded off instrumentally, rather than the more usual habit of ending with a second vocal chorus.

Beautiful Love opens with bass improvisation, then snatches of the tune from piano, then the song emerges from the snatches, clever stuff, only two and a half minutes long, but delightful. Besame Mucho opens with just drums and sinuous voice and ends rather dramatically with a three times tag. People Will Say We're In Love also has a Latin feel, with that pleasing 'clank' sound from drums, and piano comments during the drum solo. Tenderly has the singer's own Spanish lyrics but the second chorus is in English thus 'the shore was kissed by sea and mist tenderly.'

Day By Day comes in two versions: as a duo with piano, which romps and solos playfully, such a contrast from the full group version where the piano blends well with the other instrumentalists. A pianist who understands his music. Sabor A Mi isn't in English but is surely about something romantic involving the sea, as the piano seems to portray waves on the beach. Meditation is to a Latin beat, one of the tracks which finishes instrumentally with a repeated riff. While We're Young features interesting rumbling drums and an intimate feel to the singing, near the microphone, as indeed on all the tracks.

This CD is the sixth time that Ms Henderson has collaborated with pianist Fortner. Ms Henderson is an arranger and musical impressario as well as a singer. She has a diverse background of Spanish and Portuguese influences, and she has qualifications in Music, Business and Hispanic Studies. She has performed in Europe, Mexico and South Africa and she is at present preparing for her tenth tour of Europe.

The album was released on April 24 on Brontosaurus Records
 Ann Alex

Beautiful Love; Besame Mucho; People Will Say We're In Love; Tiernamente (Tenderly); Day By Day; Sabor A Mi; Meditacao (Meditation); Day By Day (duo); While We're Young.

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