Elizabeth Shepherd

Rewind

By Kerry DooleDoes the world really need another album of standards from a female jazz singer? Well, yes, when the vocalist in question is as tasteful and talented as Elizabeth Shepherd. The Toronto, ON-based singer/keyboardist/composer has earned international acclaim for adventurous earlier records that fused soul, jazz and pop. Recorded while she was pregnant, Rewind is Shepherd's most conventional record yet, but she's able to breathe new life into tunes from the likes of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Kurt Weill, the Gershwins and Cannonball Adderley. (Shepherd co-wrote only one number here, "When You Are Near.") She handles all the arrangements and production, confirming she's far more than a pretty voice. Joining her core band members Colin Kingsmore and Scott Kemp are such elite T.O. players as Ross MacIntyre, Andrew Downing, Reg Schwager, Mark Kelso, Kevin Turcotte and David Travers-Smith, while Denzal Sinclaire duets on a sweet version of "Prelude to a Kiss." Her playing on Rhodes and Wurlitzer has a warm vibe. On most tunes, the instrumentation is kept sparse, allowing Shepherd's airy voice to float and soar delightfully. She also mixes moods nicely, from the Brazilian tinge of "Poinciana" to her impeccable French on "Pourquoi Tu Vis" and "Les Amoureux Des Bancs Publics." Her take on Lionel Hampton's "Midnight Sun" is reprised from a 2007 recording, but it deserves to be heard again. This is simply a lovely record.
(Pinwheel)
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