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Golden Earrings by Laura Theodore & Joe Beck

Joe Beck and Laura Theodore new CD Golden Earrings should be a Jazz classic for a lot of reasons. First, it is the last album recorded by Joe Beck before he passed away on July 22, 2008. Beck was a musician's musician and his resume includes recordings with Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, Gil Evans, Frank Sinatra, James Brown and David Sanborn.

There's also the chance to hear once again Beck's invention, the Alto Guitar, a hybrid guitar with two bass strings and four guitar strings. Another reason is Laura Theodore; for those who are not familiar with Laura's work, she is one of the best singers on the Jazz scene today.

But the main reason is the wonderful music on this album. Golden Earrings is a tribute to the music of another Jazz legend, Peggy Lee. There's an undeniable chemistry between Joe Beck and Laura Theodore that shows all trough this CD. Beck use of chords and harmonies played on his alto guitar creates music so full and rich, ideal for Laura's always soulful vocals.

The beautiful intro on "Johnny Guitar" is a perfect way to start Golden Earrings. Beck's guitar and Laura's enchanting interpretation reminds me of a Quentin Tarantino movie soundtrack.Beck an Laura swing on tracks like "Why don't you do right", "You was right baby" and "I can't believe you're in love with me". On "Take a little time to smile", Laura moves easily between deep and bright tones, playing beautifully with Beck chords and harmonies.

Laura's vocals on "Fever" and "My Small Señor", are playful, suggestive and entertaining. Loved the use of guitar harmonics by Beck on these songs. Laura has a quality on her voice and phrasing that reminds me of legendary Jazz singers like Ella and Holiday. Yet, she has an unmistakable style and voice. Listen to "Solitude", "Golden Earrings", "When your speak with your eyes" and the nice scats on "Don't smoke in Bed".

Specially enjoy the Bossa feeling on "I get along without you very well" and the bluesy version of "I don't know enough about you", a perfect match for Laura classy and soulful voice.

Golden Earrings contains some of the best Jazz music I've heard in recent years. This album is a must have in your Jazz collection.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Laura Theodore & Joe Beck
  • CD Title: Golden Earrings
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Whaling City Sound
  • Rating: Five Stars
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