April Aloisio

Easy to Love

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Short of Carri Coltrane, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more waifish and subtle jazz singer than April Aloisio, who is unlikely to be mistaken for a belter anytime soon. Her voice is small without being thin, and she uses subtlety and restraint to maximum advantage on the excellent Easy to Love. Though Brazilian jazz isn't the only thing on this CD, it's a very high priority. Aloisio successfully brings Brazilian elements to everything from Horace Silver's "Song for My Father" (which she scats her way through) and Bronislau Kaper's "Invitation" to Stevie Wonder's "Another Star" and Patrice Rushen's "You Love Me Only." The Chicago-based singer is equally impressive on a spare, impressionistic version of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" (which features tenor saxman Von Freeman) and a haunting detour into pop-folk territory on Jim Messina's "Keep Me in Mind." Jazz snobs might complain about the fact that Aloisio embraces Wonder and Messina songs, but in fact, she deserves applause for being broad-minded and realizing that worthwhile popular music didn't die with Cole Porter and the Gershwin Brothers. Consistently introspective but far from predictable, Easy to Love was a welcome addition to Aloisio's catalog.

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