Patti Austin

That Secret Place

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The veteran sweet-voiced singer's fourth GRP album is perhaps her most musically diverse, covering an ambitious range of material. While each successive album she's recorded over that period has given the versatile entertainer an opportunity to showcase different elements of her artistry, this album gives her the chance to highlight her skills as a vocal stylist and interpreter with few peers. There's the lilting, jazz-inflected title track (an homage to Miles Davis), the reggae-flavored "Captivated," and the poignant ballad "Somebody Make Me Laugh," just for starters. Other standouts include the wistful "Broken Dreams," a bebop finger-snappin' take on Thomas Dolby's zesty "Ability to Swing," and the gospel-flavored "Reach." She saves the best for last, however, with the classical-flavored "Stars in Our Eyes," a gorgeous and haunting look back at a failed relationship with subtle keyboard harmonies by Bob James. Austin can do it all herself, but she enjoys the camaraderie she shares on various cuts with Vesta, Mervyn Warren, Tata Vega, and Phil Perry.

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