Susannah McCorkle

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There's something incredibly tragic and ironic in the strange reality that finds a beloved jazz singer taking her own life just after compiling a collection of her best loved interpretations. So loved by so many, but perhaps -- as she wrote in her liner notes for her wistful reading of "If I Only Had a Heart" -- she was one of those people who "have trouble experiencing their own emotions and yearn to feel something, anything." Also in this spirited mix of classics is "Look For the Silver Lining," and her version is, of course, cheery. But morbid ironies aside, this disc shows her amazing diversity as her crystal, smoky voice tackled Brazilian ("The Waters of March" and "Manha De Carnaval," sung completely in Portuguese), musical comedy (Dave Frishberg's "Quality Time") and traditional jazz ("I Thought About You"). These songs were selected from her prolific output of some two hundred recorded performances, spotlighting 14 songs best loved by her fans around the world. Now, of course, it's a parting gift, made all the more poignant by McCorkle's written reflections on the album sleeve. Her personal tragedy will certainly draw in listeners who might not otherwise have known about her, but as her longtime fans knew, for her, it was all about communicating the song to her appreciative audience.

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