Donna Kimura

Donna Kimura

Jo Thompson shows she’s only getting better with age on Forever Fabulous. The octogenarian is in fine form leading the J.C. Heard Orchestra, under musical director Walt Szymanski, through 15 jazz and blues jewels. The singer-pianist sets the tone for the album by leading off with a strong, high-energy version of “Bye Bye Blackbird” that will transport listeners back to the big band days. Thompson is the smart, sassy girl singer and more. She offers thoroughly engaging performances of “Gee Baby A
San Francisco vocalist Margie Baker’s assembled five musician friends with the idea of playing African-American music from the 1930s and ‘40s, which was then known as “race music.” Their three-hour sets would be tribute to the music that Baker heard as a young girl growing up in the city’s Fillmore District, the scene of several nightclubs that housed black entertainers on the “chitlin circuit” when they came through the city. She was too young to be allowed inside these clubs, but the music was
Sean Sullivan wants to do it all and wants to give listeners everything in his musical arsenal on Square One. The New York-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist delivers no fewer than 21 songs (17 on the disc and four bonus downloads) that showcase his considerable talents. A two-time winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Sullivan brings five original numbers to the album, ranging from the catchy jazz-funk title song to the soft island-flavored “Summer Rain.” Sullivan then swings loos
Lauren Hooker delivers a bold album full of interesting twists and turns. The surprises start early. She opens the album with a cool original that she kicks off but then turns over to poet Jeanette Curtis Rideau, who delivers a spoken-word performance. The track conjures up the feel and sounds of a 1950s nightclub inhabited by hip beatniks. “I ride your music—feel your story and smile,” says Rideau as a horn wails behind her. “Because your music brings out the poetry in me.” Life Of The Music co
Rob Keiter recorded The Glory Of Love during a rough patch in his life. In the midst of the breakup of his 23-year marriage, he found himself putting together a collection of a dozen love songs. The emotion was overwhelming. As he was singing “This Nearly Was Mine,” Keiter couldn’t hold back the tears. Still, he managed to keep singing about lost love until the song’s conclusion. Everyone there realized it was a moment that couldn’t be recreated, so that became the one and only take of the song.
Vocalist Alison Ruble has gathered a strong set of jazz and folk-rock songs for her second Origin Records release. After displaying her diverse musical taste on her 2008 debut, This is a Bird, Ruble drives home the point that she is as comfortable reinterpreting the American songbook as she is covering recent songs by Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt. Ruble also continues to work with some of Chicago’s top musicians, including guitarist John McLean, who did all the arrangements on Ashland. The 10
Debi Raven’s debut album is a warm introduction to a vocalist at ease covering a variety of material. With selections ranging from Fats Waller to Billie Holiday, from Bu…
Gabriele Tranchina’s ambitious, new release, A Song of Love’s Color, brings together a wide array of rhythms and languages. A native of Germany who has settled in…
Aled Thomas sounds like he could use a hug. Lucky for us that means he has written some good songs. His trio opens the CD with the title track, a clever number about che…
New York-based pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton has released her third CD, The Breeze and I, a 13-song collection of lesser-known standards. A bit of a tradit…
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