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CD REVIEW: Michelle Latimer - "Sings & Plays"
By Gian F - 03/29/2005 - 09:32 PM EST

Artist: Michelle Latimer
Album: "Sings & Plays"
CD Review: Genre: Jazz
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 9
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8
Commercial Value: 7
Overall Talent Level: 8
Songwriting Skills: 7
Performance Skill: 8
Best Songs: Blue Daniel, The Fool On The Hill, Vierge, Corcovado, Moon And Sand
Weakness: More orginal songs to showcase lyricist skills
CD Review: Many people think of Jazz as ambient music: music that creates atmosphere and is used as a backdrop in social settings to reduce tension and increase relaxation. I happen to think of Jazz as the ultimate performance genre because of the freedom and flexibility that a musician has to interpret what is, or is not written. Michelle Latimer, a vocalist/trumpeter/lyricist/arranger from San Francisco, California thinks the same way.

Her debut CD is a twelve-song showcase of mostly covers that aptly display her vocals and interpretation skills. Her supporting ensemble of Derek James, Trombon; Nick DiScala, Tenor Sax; Katie Johnk, Viola/Violin; and Scott Gould, guitar, all get a chance to shine individually on this project, but they uphold their backing positions with a seasoned subtlety that nicely complements Michelle's emotive playing style in what feels and sounds like an intimate cabaret performance.

"One Blue Daniel" is the commercial track on this project. It highlights Michelle's melodic playing capabilities and features some mighty fine bass work by Derek James that would easily fit into and enhance many smooth Jazz radio playlists. "The House On The Hill" is a dreamy composition which grows and blossoms into an introspective moment that will stimulate your thoughts or guide you to some realizations - all within the course of four minutes and fifty-seven seconds. It's a powerful production that taps into the depth of Michelle's tumpetering talents. But can she sing? Yes she can. Her vocal performances on "Corcovado," "Moon Sand," and "Lush Life" are executed with the fervor and precision of an ageless veteran.

Michelle Latimer Sings & Plays and Jazz music lovers will be glad that she does.

Advice: Keep it up!

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