Vocalist Michelle Samuels turns in a splendid performance on her debut recording, Across a Crowded Room. The alto interprets several award-winning songs from some of Broadway's greatest composers, including Rodgers & Hammerstein, George and Ira Gershwin, and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The set opens with "Some Enchanted Evening," which has a jazz waltz tempo coming out of the rubato introduction. A significant solo from pianist Adam Asarnow makes this song even more memorable. She scats her way through "Hum Drum Blues" with only the accompaniment of a hand drum, and sings a swinging samba over Richard de Rosa's lively percussion on "The Sweetest Sounds." A duet with bassist Steve LaSpina on "It Ain't Necessarily So" lends further credence to the relevance of the Gershwins' music nearly 50 years after it was penned. Michelle Samuels has a distinctive voice that is easy to listen to and even easier to enjoy.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein