Diane Witherspoon

L.A. After Dark

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Singer Diane Witherspoon has worked with the brother and sister lyricist team of John and Paula Hackett for over two decades, and this is the second CD in which they have collaborated. With a rotating cast of supporting musicians, which includes tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards, pianist Art Hillery, bassist John Heard, and drummer Roy McCurdy (among others), Witherspoon makes the most of each track. Her richly textured vocals are never overblown but convey sincerity throughout the disc. Edwards wrote the music to both selections on which he appears, the hard-driving opener "Teddy's L.A. After Dark" and "Our Night of Love" (a disappointing ditty about a one-night stand). The late Harry "Sweets" Edison penned the subtle swinger "Sweet Sounds in the Night" and "You'll Believe in Love" (set as an easygoing bossa nova); both tracks showcase fine solos by trumpeter Nolan Shaheed. Witherspoon actually knew the late Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, who approved of her interpretations of his compositions "Eddie's Clean Machine" and "Love's Disguise," both of which appear on the CD, with tenor saxophonist Herman Riley saluting Vinson with brief but effective solos. It's hard to suppress a broad grin after listening to a full CD by Diane Witherspoon, a gifted veteran singer who deserves wider recognition.

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