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Album Review

Alison Burns' debut CD on guitarist Martin Taylor's P3 Music label proved to be a striking session for the vocalist, an expressive alto who seemed to find new routes to songs of widely different styles. 1 AM is the brilliant follow-up album, though this time it is just Burns and Taylor performing 14 superb duets. Unlike many better-known vocalists, Burns builds upon the strengths of each piece without trying to totally discard the melody and show off, while Taylor is the consummate partner, providing lush accompaniment and intricate fills between lines without intruding upon the singer. While there are rewarding interpretations of standards like the sensitive "Sophisticated Lady" and a warm "How Long Has This Been Going On," it is Burns' exploration of forgotten gems and newer pop songs that leaves the most lasting impressions. The playful, lighthearted rendition of Peggy Lee's "Here's a Tramp," the loping, bluesy setting of Hub Atwood's "No One Ever Tells You," and the spacious, heartfelt performance of Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" are all stunning. An added bonus is the beautiful original ballad "True," penned by Burns and Taylor. Alison Burns is married to James Taylor, the executive producer and the guitarist's son, so hopefully this enjoyable family gathering in the studio will become a regular part of their lives, as well as those of jazz fans.

1:AM, Alison Burns
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