Keiko McNamara

Keiko 1-2-3

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Keiko McNamara is a formidable jazz pianist, very much in the same way that Diana Krall is: she has a firm understanding of the tradition, knows how to improvise off changes, and makes those momentous leaps of lyrical wonder that makes a listener sit up and take notice. But who the hell ever told her she could sing? This program of standards from the masters like Jimmy Van Huesen, Harold Arlen Sammy Khan, Cole Porter, and the like is what one expects from piano trios, but despite the deft instrumental interpretations by Ms. McNamara and her wonderful rhythm section -- Aldo Zunino on bass, Franco Mondini, drums -- it's not enough to keep her from absolutely murdering this classic material with a voice that's flatter than last night's ale and as un-emotive as a soap opera star on downer's confronting her life in the mirror. Her treatments of "Love for Sale," "My Shining Hour," "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," "Time After Time," "It Could Happen to You," etc., are shiftless twaddle played utterly without inspiration or even vocal literacy. The executive producer on this date should have been fired at the rehearsal stage. Ugh.

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