Jana Herzen

Passion of a Lonely Heart

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Although Motema Music has been primarily focused on jazz artists and has grown into one of the major independent jazz labels, it initially began as founder Jana Herzen's small venture to feature her wide range of musical interests. Waiting nearly a decade to release her second CD, the vocalist/guitarist's sole accompanist is the accomplished bassist Charnett Moffett. She opens with a sublime, heartfelt interpretation of the old standard "'Tis Autumn," with a light touch that brings out the essence of its lyric. She adds a folky touch in her vocal to the gently swinging take of "My Baby Just Cares for Me." She shows off her guitar chops in the potent interpretation of Chick Corea's "Spain" while also mastering Al Jarreau's thoughtful lyric. Herzen also penned several strong originals. Her engaging "Bali Holiday" is a breezy affair, with Moffett's superb walking bass buoying Herzen's swinging vocal, while the bluesy "Secrets Are Safe with Me" and the sensuous "My Latin Love" display the breadth of her interests. Recommended.

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