Mary Ann Hurst
Cool Standards

Mary Ann Hurst, vocals; Bill Ginn, piano; James Scott Balentine, flute, clarinet; Matthew Dorko, guitar.

As almost anyone who has been listening to Jazz lately knows, there has been a virtual plethora of vocalists in the genre. Here
we have yet another by a competent and attractive-voiced woman who makes her home on the east coast.

While there are no truly distinguishing features on Cool Standards, nevertheless, I would recommend it to fans of vocal Jazz and, really, any kind of good, strong popular music. Hurst
presents a program of well-known and oft-repeated standards, bringing her own take to each of them.

She seems to be more at home on the smoky-club type of tunes, such as "Angel Eyes," "Black Coffee" and "Born To Be Blue" (exhibiting a strong Helen Merrill-ish influence on the latter). I also like her readings of the two Brazilian pieces, "How Insensitive" and "Black Orpheus," both of which she renders in English.

Her cohorts offer staunch support, with Scott Balentine providing some very bluesy clarinet and flute on "Black Coffee" and the blues medley ("Goin' To Chicago," "St. Louis Blues," and Blues in the Night"). Guitarist Dorko has a solid background in blues
and Jazz, receiving his training in New Orleans. His sensitive
backing on "Fever/Summertime," is especially worthy of mention. The unusual choice of no drums or bass works well, with pianist Ginn giving ample foundation to the whole proceedings.

by Francesca Nemko

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