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Wild Blue

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Album Review

On the 13 albums she released on her own Marzipan label between 1987 and 2002, Jeanne Newhall was categorized as a new age pianist with classical tendencies. But she also took up singing along the way, and with the release of her first album on an established record label, Blix Street's Wild Blue, she essentially switches genres. Singing on every track, she writes seven piano ballads and covers three other pop songs in a singer/songwriter mode. In fact, when she launches into her version of Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" at the outset, the listener might think this was a Rickie Lee Jones record. As a singer, Newhall sounds a lot like Jones, with her breathy soprano, except that she eschews Jones' heavy accent and slurred phrasing. She is also somewhat suggestive of Maria Muldaur in places, but again, without the vocal gimmicks. Still, having come up as an instrumentalist, she seems more interested in the music than in the words, which, when it comes to her own compositions, tend toward the romantic and vaguely spiritual, with clichés aplenty. Nevertheless, this is consistently pleasant music likely to appeal to fans of '70s singer/songwriters.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Jeanne Newhall is a well-respected composer and sophisticated vocalist and her vast musical roots have impacted jazz and new age since the early '90s. But before her successful recording career, Newhall's musical dreams were firmly shaped during her early childhood when she began tickling the ivories at age six. The early teenage years of mastering the piano while growing up on a farm in her native Phoenix led Newhall to learn six Mozart concertos by age 15. Opportunities to attend some of the nation's...
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