Kansas City denizen Angela Hagenbach solidifies her position as a first rank jazz singer with her third solo album for Amazon Records. To reach this pinnacle she has built upon the legacy of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, carried on by Nancy Wilson and Abbey Lincoln, among others, applying a modern dash to familiar songs. Hagenbach conquers a playlist which allows her to showcase her singing modes and moods that include palpitating Latin, sultry ballads, Eddie Jefferson-like vocalese on "Now's the Time," and straight-ahead swinging. If one harbors any doubt about Hagenbach's credentials as a jazz singer, listen to her stylistic escapade on "Altos de Chavon." The band kicks off with a chorus, then Hagenbach enters shaping her voice as one of the horns, never uttering a lyric, creating one of the more aurally stimulating tracks on the CD. The give and take between Hagenbach's wordless vocalizing and the percussion, including whistles, on "Caravan" resonates with rhythm and establishes a mood that is exotic. Hagenbach borrows from Eartha Kitt, purring into a commanding, sultry, anticipatory "It Had Better Be Tonight." Straight from the vocal chords, swinging comes along with such tunes as "You Turned the Tables on Me." To call the arrangements "fresh" understates their contribution to this excellent recorded outing. They allow Hagenbach to bring into play her full and varied menu of vocal maneuvers and set the stage for accompaniment that fiercely compliments the singer. Pianist Joe Cartwright and Danny Embrey's guitar sit in on all tracks providing steady continuity. Greg Carroll vibes give a special resonance to those tracks he's on. This is an important release, and is a must for connoisseurs of the jazz vocal art.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan