Signe Hensel, vocals; Dean McGraw, acoustic & electric guitar, Mike Elliot, rhythm guitar; Gary Raynor, acoustic bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibraphone; Nathan Norman, drums; Michael Pilhofer, percussion; Mark Henderson, clarinet, alto sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Dave Karr, tenor sax, flute, alto flute; Kathy Jensen, bari sax, bass clarinet; Rachel Burdnoy, oboe, English horn; Brad Shermock, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Dave Jensen, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Dave Graf, trombone; Adi Yeshaya, piano, Rhodes, Hammond B3.
Minneapolis singer Signe Hensel has a beautiful and clear voice. The tunes she selected for her debut CD Invitation (which she also co-produced) are reflective of her artistic strengths. Hensel conveys the full palette of "up and down emotions" with warm timbre and appropriate phrasing - thereby using all facets of her naturally wide vocal range, and choosing a consistently sensitive interpretation of the lyrics on hand. I like her straightforward delivery: no scatting, no drawn out vibrato that could distract from her outstanding voice qualities. Just Signe pure. I especially like her interpretation of "Green Dolphin Street" which also showcases Dave Hagedorn's talent on the vibes. Remarkable is also Hensel's approach of the Norman Gimbel/Henry Mancini tune "Slow Hot Wind." The album's co-producer, Adi Yeshaya, is responsible for all of the arrangements and proves himself an ideal accompanist to this promising singer: supportive and encouraging at the same time. Guitarist Dean McGraw deserves a special mention for his craftsmanship on the strings as well. A well-rounded first album from a singer we definitely will hear from again.
by Kate Kaiser