Next to You

Teraesa Vinson

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Next to You Review

by Ken Dryden

Jazz singers are a demanding lot, yet relatively few opt to record with a guitarist, possibly worrying about the additional focuses on potential strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, Teraesa Vinson already had a working relationship with guitarist Tom Dempsey, so the making of a CD was inevitable. The duo is a true partnership, with the singer molding herself to Dempsey's inspired lines while she tackles a wide variety of material and sounds effortless in the process. Her bluesy treatment of Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Opportunity Please Knock" should be a significant part of her résumé, while her touching interpretation of McCoy Tyner's gorgeous "You Taught My Heart to Sing" is beautifully understated, buoyed by Dempsey's sensitive backing. She swings like mad in "I Remember You" and "Old Devil Moon." Vinson is also effective tackling "It's Not Easy Being Green" (a Sesame Street ballad made famous by Kermit the Frog), revealing its potential in a jazz setting. Finally, Dempsey contributed the delightful bossa nova "Next to You," a lyrical gem that is the perfect vehicle for Vinson.

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