Lilian Terry

Emotions

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It isn't difficult to understand why many people who consider themselves serious, truly obsessive connoisseurs of jazz singing have never heard of Lilian Terry. Although talented, the veteran singer has recorded infrequently; plus, she has never recorded for an American label. All of her albums have come out on European labels, and even though she's better known in Europe than she is in the United States, European listeners don't have a huge Lilian Terry catalog as a reference. One person Emotions (which was recorded in Chicago in 2000 and released by Switzerland's TCB label in 2003) often inspires comparisons to is Carol Sloane -- not because Sloane is necessarily an actual influence, but because Terry uses subtlety in a similar fashion and shares some of Sloane's influences (especially Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday). Like Sloane, Terry clearly identifies with Fitzgerald's softer, gentler side. But Terry has a much more multilingual outlook than any of those artists; someone who was born in Cairo, Egypt, and has lived in both Italy and France is bound to speak more than one language. When Terry sings in English, she does it with a slight accent -- but only a slight accent. Her English is quite understandable on Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss" and Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child," and she is equally appealing when she sings in Portuguese on several Brazilian songs and in French on Michel Legrand's "Once Upon a Summertime." Terry even sings in Arabic (specifically, an Egyptian dialect of Arabic) on a very North African-minded version of Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia." No one will accuse Terry of being a belter -- she definitely values subtlety and understatement -- and that approach serves her well on this decent, enjoyable disc.

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