Pamela Knowles

Love Dance

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Pamela Knowles' recording career was off to a decent, if less than remarkable, start on her debut album, Love Dance, which the singer produced herself when she was still living in Australia. This accessible CD isn't a gem, but it's an enjoyable jazz-pop effort that swings in a subtle fashion. Although Knowles swings, she doesn't swing aggressively -- subtlety and restraint are her trademarks, and she uses them to her advantage on material that ranges from James Taylor's "Night Owl" to Paul Desmond's "Take Five" (a major hit for pianist Dave Brubeck in 1959) and the songs of Brazilian great Ivan Lins ("The Island" and "Love Dance"). To her credit, Knowles doesn't limit herself to well-known standards. While many jazz and jazz-pop vocalists make the mistake of sticking to the same old Cole Porter or Gershwin warhorses that jazz fans have heard time and time again, Knowles isn't afraid to do her homework and make some less obvious choices. She embraces Michel Legrand's well-known "You Must Believe in Spring," but she also surprises us by interpreting Bob Dorough's "Just About Everything" and Blossom Dearie's "I Like You." Again, Love Dance isn't a gem, although it's a pleasant debut that has many more pluses than minuses.

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