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CD REVIEW:Jen Chapin & Stephan Crump – Open Wide
By Ben Ohmart - 04/26/2002 - 09:59 PM EDT

Artist: Jen Chapin & Stephan Crump
Album: Open Wide
CD Review: Well this is a first. I’ve heard drum n bass before, but not voice n bass. Yep, all you’re going to hear on this wonderful cd is a Jen’s jazz-pop voice over Stephan’s acoustic bass accompaniment. Of course the melodies (and songwriting) come from Jen’s very able style, so the bass is really there for support: to give what’s going on a musical context, and sometimes an expert rhythm to play against.

Sometimes the music is so quiet, I can hear my cd player spinning. ‘Gold’ begins that way, before launching lyrics of ‘An old lady once said to me / She said ‘You see what I got?’ / So I turned to see / She was sitting empty-handed with a secret smile / And she said ‘I got gold and it shines in dark places.’’

Jen’s voice is catlike: a choice between the roughness of Janis Joplin, and Celine Dion’s moments of yelling; both at a highly reduced decibel rate. Listen and see what I mean.

You can call this performance art, or cool vocal jazz, but whatever you name it, label it After you’ve heard this very arresting bit of theatre.

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