Diane Witherspoon

You May Never Know

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A second cousin of the late Jimmy Witherspoon, Diane Witherspoon is a singer who deserve greater recognition, not only for her light, clear, expressive, soulful voice but also for participating in relatively idealistic projects such as this. Far from a routine collection of standards, this is a compendium of often first-rate tunes by pianist Cedar Walton, outfitted with lyrics by the San Francisco-based brother-and-sister team of John and Paula Hackett. Whether dealing with love or spiritual matters, the Hacketts are experts at fitting often rapid streams of syllables to Walton's tunes; the title tune is an especially appealing, funky demonstration piece. Perhaps the very cleverness of these songs will prevent them from becoming standards -- they make singers work, and some may be too lazy to take them on -- yet Witherspoon nails them all, sailing with disarming ease through the sometimes tricky rhythms. Walton is on hand to provide voluble, vigorous piano work with plenty of solo room, and the rhythm section of either Tony Dumas or John Heard on bass and Billy Higgins on drums is not unexpectedly solid and swinging. Due to the vagaries of the music business, this release didn't get off the shelf into the shops until 1999, eight years after it was recorded.

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