Monica Lynk

A Tribute to Billie Holiday

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If you decide for your maiden album to make it a tribute to another vocalist, you might as well choose one of the greatest. That's exactly what Monica Lynk has done with her initial offering on CD. Even the cover picture is designed to capture Holiday, right down to the gardenia in her hair. The entire play list on this live performance is populated with familiar songs associated with Holiday, such as "Don't Explain," "Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)," and the gut-wrenching "Strange Fruit." Listening to these well-known tunes, it's easy to forget that Holiday had to record a lot of clinkers in her day, but even there she made most of them sound much better than they had any right. Like her idol, Lynk's voice quivers with purity and billowing lyricism, although Lynk pays much more attention to the beat than Holiday normally did. Lynk has established a respectful career without entirely relying on covering Holiday songs. She has worked with the likes of Roy Hargrove, Will Downing, and Nicholas Payton. On this session, she is ably backed by a trio of sax, guitar, and bass. Guitarist Peter Bell and saxman Jason Anderson more than hold their own when solo opportunities come along such as on "Them There Eyes" and "Easy Living." Bass player Derek Nievergelt comports himself well on "Fine and Mellow." With this release, there's no need to discard your Holiday albums. This CD will in no way replace the originals. But adding an album by a good singer such as Lynk can't help but enhance the quality of your collection. Hopefully, her next outing will focus solely on her own talents without worrying about competing with such a giant as Holiday. Recommended.

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