Hinda Hoffman

You Are There

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A voice that is not necessarily seductive, but which still seduces the listener, Chicagoan Hinda Hoffman has all the requisite technical skills in abundance: phrasing, intonation, and diction. But most important, it's her ability to convey passionately to the listener the message the lyricist is capturing in his/her words. Hoffman understands this role of the singer well, taking a song for three, four, five, or however many minutes and putting her imprimatur on it without losing the meaning and charm of the lyrics, leaving it unscathed. To practice this successfully, song selection is critical and she passes that with ease. The play list runs from standards, through Tin Pan Alley denizens to the hip of Dave Frishberg. Another element which shapes the outcome of a vocal recording session is the need for good arrangements which not only provide a fresh approach, but which support and illuminate the best features of the singer. Again, that test is met on Your Are There. On " No Moon at All" the interplay of voice, sax, bass, and drums, invigorate this tune and fit it in with Hoffman's up-tempo interpretation. On the slower side, she works with guitarist Ernie Denov to do more than justice to Blossom Dearie's masterful "Inside a Silent Tear." Piano player Dennis Luxion and Denov combine to provide a slightly funky setting to "Willow Weep for Me." Perhaps the highlight of the album is a medium tempo version of "I Could Write a Book," which is kicked off by a chorus of Hoffman singing with just Jeff Hill's bass behind her. This is followed by improvised solos by Denov and Paul Vornhagen interpolated with crisp drum breaks by Joe Grass. An expressive singer doing an interesting song list backed by sympathetic and talented musicians provide all the ingredients for an appetizing serving of jazz singing. Recommended.

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