Jeri Brown New Wonderland — The Best of Jeri Brown

This solid 13-track collection picks definitive cuts from every phase of the Montreal-based jazz singer’s nine-album career. "No Moon At All,” from her 1991 disc Mirage, documents the minimalism within her earlier songs. "Old Orleans” and "Once Upon A Summertime,” taken from her mid-period discs A Timeless Place and April in Paris, revisit pop and roots-oriented jazz. On Brown’s more recent albums, Zaius and Firm Roots, she explored bebop, "Ooo-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be,” and funk with a deeply rearranged version of Billy Preston’s "Will it Go Round in Circles.” Also revealed in this set are Brown’s many musical collaborators, including pianist Cyrus Chestnut, vocalist Leon Thomas and saxophonist David Murray. Surprisingly, New Wonderland doesn’t feel like a "best of” collection because the four new and unreleased tracks almost overshadow the older material. "New Wonderland” deftly merges classical, pop and spiritual jazz into a sophisticated suite-like opus, with Brown performing complex counter-vocalising with singer Yves-Aime Pierre. Overall, New Wonderland — The Best of Jeri Brown is an excellent musical retrospective from this respected and acclaimed Canadian chanteuse. (Justin Time)