Malene Mortensen

Date with a Dream

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Malene Mortensen emerged on the Danish jazz scene with her 2003 recording debut as a leader for Universal in Europe, following it up with this release for Stunt. With her fresh, engaging vocals and the potential to establish a following in both jazz and pop like Norah Jones, Mortenson isn't really an improviser, but she works with top-notch musicians who create fresh arrangements of standards, while she also proves herself to be a capable composer. Of particular interest are her interpretations of standards, including the sensuous, slowly savored "I've Got a Date with a Dream" (where she's backed by her trio plus strings and a lap steel player) and a heartfelt "At Last" (backed by pianist Kasper Villaume and soprano saxophonist Claus Waidtlow). She soars in Villaume's imaginative post-bop arrangement of "Take Five," displaying her soulful side. Mortenson's originals are more pop-oriented, though still catchy and entertaining, especially her infectious "Off the Beat."

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