Raya Yarbrough

Raya Yarbrough

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Raya Yarbrough is a most intriguing singer. Like Maria Muldaur, her music stretches across many genres, making the division between the styles a bit confusing if not irrelevant. Best known in Los Angeles, Raya Yarbrough shows on her debut CD that she is heading towards fame as long as she can resist being categorized. She splits her CD between jazz and pop, also including some selections that could be considered jazzy pop or pop-oriented jazz. A few creative high points should be mentioned. "You're So Bad for Me" has catchy lyrics that could result in the song catching on. Clifford Brown's bebop standard "Joy Spring" is given electronics and loops that make it sound like a very different song, even as it quotes Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring" near its end. "Dreamer's Ball" is an altered blues, while on "Mood Indigo," she sings vocalese lyrics that may be those of Jon Hendricks' to a Shorty Baker trumpet solo. "Early Autumn" is given a particularly intriguing treatment, featuring Yarbrough's voice accompanied by a string quartet. Throughout the set, her lyrics are intelligent and sometimes deal with unexpected issues, while the musicianship of the players is impeccable. All in all, this is a very impressive debut for the eclectic Yarbrough.

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