Bonnie Jensen

Lucky So & So

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The La Brava label continues to bring many of Australia's finest jazz musicians to compact disc. Not missing a beat in this ambitious undertaking, the label has released a session that displays the vocal renderings of Bonnie Jensen. Maintaining the high standards set by the label with its previous releases, Jensen delivers a scintillating, expressive 55 minutes of music. Possessing a voice with excellent range, she distributes emotions tailored to the message she wants each song to convey to the listener, whether the tune be an original or standard -- the mark of a good jazz singer. Thus, "Waltz for Debby" is tender and a bit wistful. "Teach Me Tonight" imparts a sense of urgency as she staggers space between words and lines to make this oft-recorded song come across somewhat differently than one usually hears it. Her own "Reality" is more contemporary music and comes wrapped in a Brazilian beat. Jensen also recognizes the importance of imaginative arrangements to make sure that the proper combination of instrumentation is used to help her meet her performing objectives. On "No More Blues," Steve Brien's acoustic guitar is her sole accompaniment. Thus the album is peppered with astute use of fluttering flute, soprano sax that manages not to be whiny and off-pitch, and most of all, Michael Bartolomei's piano. His efforts are inventive and inspired, and consequently, he is rewarded with generous solo time. Even though Jensen's choice of songs is somewhat orthodox -- standards, originals, and contemporary pop material, pretty much standard fare these days -- she displays a vocal instrument power and clarity combined with a sense of intimacy that makes the session work. Recommended.

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