Review: Jazz Society of Oregon, May 2014

Out of the Shadows; Maureen Kennedy, vocals.
If you’ve read these reviews for an extended period of time, it’ll come as no surprise to hear me reiterate my preference for singers who avoid glitz, glitter, froth and frosting; singers with the life experience and natural jazz chops to deliver the meaning of a quality lyric rather than just glossing over it. Kennedy is such a singer. No flash, no fancy footwork. She sings it like she means it. The quartet accompanying her, led by the silky guitar of Reg Schwager, is totally dialed in. And with Kennedy’s flawless phrasing and unforced intimacy, there’s a lot to like in her renditions of top-tier selections such as “Cloudy Morning,” “There’s a Lull in My Life,” “How Can We Be Wrong,” “Lucky So And So” and two real rarities, the Gershwins’ “My One and Only,” and Andre Previn’s “Just for Now.” Kennedy is that rare presence, a real jazz singer; and her new CD is a winner. George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon, May 2014

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