Madeline Eastman

Art Attack

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Singer Madeline Eastman's third release for the Mad-Kat label shoots out in a lot of different directions, some more successful than others. Eastman is at her best on explorative workouts (such as a wordless version of "Nefertiti" in which she is joined by The Turtle Island String Quartet), uptempo pieces where she can scat and swing and on sensuous ballads such as "The Thrill Is Gone." In contrast, her treatment of "Gypsy in My Soul" comes across as overly pushy, the lyrics of Blossom Dearie's "I Like You, You're Nice/I Like You" are not too inspired and Eastman's decision to sing in Portuguese (as heard on Ivan Lins's "Sonhos") is a mistake. An energetic version of Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" and a hard swinging "My Heart Stood Still" are much better. The supporting cast includes a trio with pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Tony Williams on half of the program; Bay Area musicians were enlisted for most of the other tracks. To Madeline Eastman's credit, she consistently stretches herself and is not afraid to take chances. The hits far outnumber the misses on this very interesting release.

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