Sami Kaneda Songs of Seven Seas

Despite slick packaging this singer’s debut showcases a second rate lounge act. Keyboard player Eugene Maslov arranges and interprets these standards with the ease of a cocktail pro and one senses where this good looking singer is destined: over-priced supper clubs, all suits, pearls, designer gowns, long black gloves and cheap champagne in the Holly Cole tradition. In musical terms, only the lovely melody of “Ringo Oiwake” stands out in an otherwise predictable set that serves to emphasise the inherent weakness of Kaneda’s vibrato. “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and “Blue Moon” are taken relatively fast and while this suits Maslov’s dexterity, it is a disaster for Kaneda. That’s too bad because at slower tempos the rich potential of her voice is much more evident. (Pangea)