Kate Hammett-Vaughan

Devil May Care

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Many contemporary singers who want to get to wear a jazz mantle but at the same time wish to attract a younger set of fans more accustomed to rock and adult pop cut CDs with a mix of songs covering several popular music genres. That's fine, as long as intelligence and discretion are used in shaping the agenda. That Kate Hammett-Vaughan took the time to do just that separates her album from many other contemporary jazz vocalists who were not as discerning in putting together their play list. Hammett-Vaughan has reached back to the 1970s and before to include Tom Waits' "Strange Weather," which she delivers in a nocturnal, moving manner, and Nick Drake's "Poor Boy." This cut sets aside plenty of room for the bass of André Lachance and the drums of Tom Foster. Somewhere along the musical spectrum comes "Show Me" from My Fair Lady. This latter track is not only used to display the singer's vocal virtues, but allows for solos and give and take by Jim Pinchin on soprano sax and Chris Gestrin on piano. Then there's a little vocalese with an arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "I Mean You" refigured to come out as "You Know Who." The obligatory piece by Abbey Lincoln is here as "Throw It Away." (It's either Lincoln or something by Joni Mitchell that predictably shows up on these albums.) But the real point is that whatever Hammett-Vaughan and her quintet chooses to perform, it's done with verve, élan, and a flawless sense of what they are supposed to do with the music. This is a fine album providing both an entertaining vocal and instrumental experience, and is recommended.

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