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Ann Burton: By Myself Alone

Album Notes

Although Ann Burton was born in the Netherlands and made a couple of albums for the Dutch label Artone in the mid-'60s, she really made her mark in Japan. There she teamed up with some excellent local jazz musicians to make several albums, especially the 1974 set By Myself Alone. Of the ten or so albums she made before dying too young in 1989, this ranks as one of her best. The album features an intelligent and entertaining mix of tunes with unique Burton interpretations, treating the listener to more than 40 minutes of solid, if not spectacular, singing. Burton's voice could be husky and sensuous as on "Come Rain or Come Shine" or light and airy on a song favored by Blossom Dearie, "May I Come In?" She could take a tune by a one-time rock icon, Don McLean's "Oh My What a Shame," and make it sound like one of those Irish folk songs drenched with regret and resignation. A session highlight is the medley of "Yesterday" and "Yesterdays," where she focuses on the similarities rather than the differences between these two tunes written by composers from widely different backgrounds and generations. If this album is any indication, Burton was not interested in making her voice sound like a horn. There's no swooping, scatting, or other wordless vocalizing. Rather, she adhered to the lyrics the way they were written, respecting them by singing them in a straightforward manner. ~ Dave Nathan


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