Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
Kendra Shank is one of today's most gifted jazz singers. Previous CDs received accolades in TIME, Village Voice, DownBeat, JazzTimes, and more, with Top 10 of the Year ratings in Boston Globe, Newsday, and Jazziz. This alb... more »
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Kendra Shank is one of today's most gifted jazz singers. Previous CDs received accolades in TIME, Village Voice, DownBeat, JazzTimes, and more, with Top 10 of the Year ratings in Boston Globe, Newsday, and Jazziz. This album features Shank's working band of 10 years, which has a unique ensemble sound and musicians who are renowned in their own right. "Supremely talented, innovative, and readily accessible." -- Village Voice
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Mel and "Flight of the Conchords" - Not
Rick Cornell | Reno, Nv USA | 05/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Kendra Shank's fifth professional recording. I believe I'm the only one to have reviewed all 5 on Amazon.com. That makes me feel like Mel to "Flight of the Conchords."
Except for this: the in-joke of the HBO series is that the band, "Flight of the Conchords," is so talentless that they really don't deserve a groupie, much less an unconditional one like Mel. In contrast, the Kendra Shank quartet (Ms. Shank, vocals; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Dean Johnson, bass; Tony Moreno, drums), and "guests who are so regular that they might as well just call themselves a sextet" (Billy Drewes, saxes and clarinets; and Ben Monder, guitar) are so accomplished, talented and tight as truly to be one of the best working bands in the country; and Kendra Shank certainly is one of the most underappreciated singers anywhere. There is no more artistic, more musical, band in existence today.
Supposedly, this disc, co-produced by Ms. Shank and Andrew Rowan, is an "11 songs we like" album. If that were really true, I'd be inclined to go 4 stars (especially to emphasize the brilliance of their last c.d., the Abbey Lincoln tribute "Spirit Free.") But after many listens, I'm convinced it's more than that:
The key song in this set is the title track, track no. 2. As the band plays "Mosaic" freely and Ms. Shank "sings in tongues," it becomes apparent that what this disc is about is the holding of a prism to Kendra's soul, to her essence, and seeing what comes out. And much comes out:
We have "So Far Away," sung much more emotionally and bittersweetly than the Carole King original. There's "Reflections in Blue/Blue Skies," which starts out like a sunny day in early March and evolves into a sunny day in late May. There are the extremely lyrical, gorgeous "The Shining Sea" (an undercovered Johnny Mandel/Peggy Lee tune) and my favorite on this set, Mr. Kimbrough's and his wife's Maryanne DeProphetis' "For Duke." There's the dreamy, trancelike "Water From Your Spring/Beautiful Love," another "speech in tongues." There's the wistful "Time Remembered," a Bill Evans classic. There's the life-affirming "Laughing at Life/Smile," along with the confident life-affirming "I'm Movin' On."
And finally, there is the set-ender "I'll Meet You There," adapted from a 13th century poem. And it is this tune that makes me realize what this c.d. is about: It's about love. It's about being bathed in a warm bath of love. Over and over again. And that is the essence of Kendra Shank's spirit.
That not only works for me, I think it would work even for Mel. RC"