Nnenna Freelon

Maiden Voyage

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Nnenna Freelon's fifth CD should establish her as one of the top jazz singers of the 1990s. Rather than stick to typical jazz standards, she explore women's songs (or at least lyrics) from many fields of music. Her compelling interpretation of the title track, with its infrequently heard lyric by Mrs. Herbie Hancock, is followed by a hypnotic original lyric written by Freelon for Marian McPartland's "Threnody," titled "Sepia Wing" in its vocal incarnation. One of the more unusual songs selected is folk singer Buffy Saint-Marie's "Until It's Time for You to Go"; Freelon drastically rearranged this tune by changing the melody line and adding an uptempo vamp, and Bob Mintzer's soprano sax accents are also a nice touch. The moody lament written by the late Laura Nyro, "Buy and Sell," is also an intriguing chart by the singer. Of course, she's no slouch with standard Broadway fare either, as her lively duet with guitarist Joe Beck proves.

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