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Take It from the Top (feat. Michel Herr & Ricardo Del Fra)

Denise Jannah

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Album Review

Denise Jannah made her debut as a leader with this 1991 session for Timeless. This native of Surinam (Dutch Guiana) has a strong voice that swings mightily and conveys emotion without ever resorting to sappiness. You have to like a singer who restores the often omitted verse to an oldie like "Pennies from Heaven," then scats up a storm to boot. No one does the verse to the standard "Willow Weep for Me," yet Jannah's haunting introduction, backed solely by pianist Michel Herr, sets up the message of the song perfectly. But nowhere does Jannah pack as big a punch as she does in her moving take of "I Get Along Without You Very Well." Bop fans will love the intricate take of "Groovin' High" — featuring a fine alto sax solo by Rolf Delfos and muted trumpet by Angelo Verploegen — in which she alternates between adept scatting and singing Kirby Stone's vocalese lyrics. She is also open to contemporary material, delivering a heartfelt interpretation of rocker Sting's "Fragile" in an easygoing bossa nova setting. Though Denise Jannah has made many rewarding CDs following this remarkable debut, this CD is well worth acquiring, too.

Biography

Born: 1956 in Surinam

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s

For more than a decade, the classic honeyed voice of jazz vocalist Denise Jannah has been heard on her solo albums in the U.S., but she has been singing much, much longer. After a childhood spent alternately in Surinam and Holland, she attended the Hilversum Conservatory, graduating in 1971. Her first American release was in 1991 with her album, Take It From the Top. Two others followed, A Heart Full of Music and I Was...
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Take It from the Top (feat. Michel Herr & Ricardo Del Fra), Denise Jannah
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