The New Jazz Divas

[Shout! Factory]

The press material for this release—the first in NPR’s Discover Songs series—reference by first-name-only the divas who came before: Ella, Sarah, Dinah, Nina, Billie, Anita. The implication, one supposes, is that some day you will also come to know Madeleine, Esperanza, Eliane, Tierney and Melody in the same way. Whether those contemporary women (surnames: Peyroux, Spalding, Elias, Sutton and Gardot) will ever command that level of instant recognition remains to be seen, but all of them—and nine more—demonstrate here how they’ve each carved out a formidable place in today’s jazz world. Brazil’s Elias brings a near-gospel fervor to her take on Bob Marley’s “Jammin’,” while Jane Monheit’s orchestral “Over the Rainbow” is minimal and ethereal. Sutton experiments with time and space on “Happy Days Are Here Again” and Diana Krall’s interpretation of Tom Waits’ “Temptation” is slinky and cool. – Jeff Tamarkin

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