Trudy Kerr

Sweet Surprise

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This is the first album by England's Trudy Kerr. Sporting a play list of standards, pop tunes, and originals, Kerr and her group provide more than an hour's worth of entertaining and fresh vocal interpretations. Kerr gives an honest and ardent rendition of all the tunes (both ballads and up-tempo numbers) she sings, showing great respect for the lyrics. At the same time, she manages to introduce techniques like slight swooping -- phrasing that surprises and keeps the session from becoming routine and ordinary. One of the really superb cuts on the CD, "Ocean" by Peter Churchill, is not a standard. On this track the eloquent pianism of Phil Peskett gets the listener's attention. Dave O'Higgins joins in on two cuts with his tenor sax. He's especially compelling behind Kerr on a fine interpretation of "That's All," with Kerr again using imaginative phrasing to bring some new ideas to this oft-played tune. The influence of other modern, expressive singers like Abbey Lincoln and Chaka Khan are evident here and on pop-oriented cuts like "What You Won't Do for Love." The musicians on this set with Kerr are steadfast and sympathetic in their support. The rhythm section lays down a beat that highlights the expressiveness of Kerr's vocalizing. Although there are some electronic enhancements, they don't overwhelm. Even though the singer lets her deep feel for the music get away from her from time to time, this is a fine debut album and portends well for more good things to come.

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