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You Are There (Duets)

Hilary Kole

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Album Review

For her second recording, Hilary Kole has pulled off a coup any jazz singer can only dream of, yet it has become real. You Are There contains 13 vocal-piano duets recorded over a five-year period with some of the most renowned pianists in history, including Dave Brubeck and Hank Jones. It's even better to hear Kole's pitch-perfect voice alongside these unquestioned masters in mostly subtle ballad versions of standards. What is also true is the program varies little from track to track — consistent for sure, but not arresting to the point where it is commanding. The tracks with Jones will be paid attention to because of his passing before the release of the CD, but it is his distinctive, stride-flavored piano on "If I Had You" that remains timeless. Brubeck's playful piano on "These Foolish Things" and his own "Strange Meadowlark" give Kole a bit more of a challenge. With Freddy Cole on piano and vocals, Kole teams up in separate lyric voicings during "It's Always You," the most delightful track of the set. Then there's "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" with Benny Green extrapolating to a great degree, and Steve Kuhn getting into an atypical bluesy mood on "Two for the Road." There's nothing to really criticize about Hilary Kole's voice or inflections — she's good as gold — while all of the pianists play sensitively to the hilt. It's the kind of project that makes one yearn for more, a good thing in one sense, and leads to thinking about what it could have been with some variance in the rhythmic department. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

You Are There (Duets), Hilary Kole
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