Janice Harper

Embers of Love

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Lost in the shuffle amid a Capitol Records stable populated by singers including Peggy Lee, June Christy, and Julie London, Janice Harper eschewed the cool-school aesthetic of her rivals in favor of a more traditional and direct approach that emphasized emotion over intellect. Her finest LP, Embers of Love, remains a potent evocation of perseverance in the face of romantic dissolution, celebrating the dawn rather than the darkness. Paired with arranger Stan Applebaum, Harper invests melancholy ballads like "Cry Me a River," "The Thrill Is Gone," and "For All We Know" with a warmth and sincerity bordering on naïvete. For all their smoky, late-night ambience, the songs possess an undercurrent of optimism that softens their impact, divining solace from the sorrow.

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