Elaine Lucia

Sings Jazz and Other Things

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The play list and its performance on Elaine Lucia's debut album reflects the title, Jazz and Other Things. There are classic standards, a tune by Joni Mitchell and one by Bob Dorough -- both of which seem to be de rigueur -- performed as ballads, some blues, some up-tempo material, and some songs done with a Brazilian beat. While not overdoing it, she also scats now and then. Although her voice may be a wee bit light for some, Lucia handles all of these "other things" with ease and elegance. Just as important, she stays under control throughout, never losing contact with her fellow musicians and keeping on target with the point she is making with each of her interpretations. That her phrasing and intonation are impeccable helps considerably. Much of the technical strength comes from her early training in classical voice before moving on to country and rock and settling in jazz -- a journey that is not uncommon for many of the female jazz vocalists of Lucia's generation. In sum, armed with all the requisite technical and interpretative tools, Lucia brings a bright, fresh approach to this material. Although he is on only two cuts, Bud Shank's playing is worth the price of admission. His expressive alto fills the spaces behind Lucia on the classic "Key Largo" and carries the Brazilian lilt on "Agua de Beber." On "Key Largo," Lucia holds the last note longer than usual, letting her voice drift away. A nice touch. Drifting, in fact, seems to be a major theme on this album, as the same feeling pervades Bob Dorough's "Small Day Tomorrow," in which the intricate bass strumming of Pierre Archain complements Lucia's interpretation of this song. The muted trumpet of Eddie Ramirez gets everyone's attention on "Old Devil Moon." The performance of this tune is less frantic than usual. Overall, this maiden album features challenging arrangements of worthwhile material performed by top-drawer musicians. Too bad there is less than 40 minutes of it. Nonetheless, this album is recommended.

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