Cæcilie Norby

Sisters In Jazz
(ACT)

Danish vocalist Cæcilie Norby sings with a clean, crisp tone and just enough swing to almost saunter. But an air of sameness and non-ambition causes Sisters In Jazz to feel a bit rigid. The material here is no surprise: three originals thrown in amid a selection of iconic numbers by some of Norby’s favorite singers. The bluesy slyness of Bonnie Raitt, the rapid-fire scat and sway of Betty Carter and the commanding majesty of Nina Simone all are colors that go into the grand design of the album. At best, Norby’s interpretations of “Do I Move You?” and “Big Yellow Taxi” reflect a lightly swung, post-Ella Fitzgerald vocal jazz. At worst, it sounds like she’s simply reciting the hits in a Las Vegas cabaret, and the inclusion of tabla-style percussion on Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” feels problematic and appropriative. But there are fair interpretations of Abbey Lincoln’s “Love Has Gone Away” and Mitchell’s “Man From Mars,” where Norby is able to meld effectively with the plush, ambient scene set by her band. The mood conjured by contributing musicians—pianist Rita Marcotulli’s ethereal touch and drummer Dorota Piotrowska’s textural moves—hint at potential ultimately unrealized.



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October 2020
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