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Licensed to Thrill

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Album Review

Jazz vocalist Donna Byrne's animated manner of spinning a lyric is augmented by her warm intonations and acute sense of swing. Here, she garners terrific support from guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and saxophonist Scott Hamilton. The artists project a scenario that might be conducive to an upscale hotel lounge, as Byrne embraces a jazzy set consisting of familiar standards. She understates an abundance of themes while delving into these compositions with a cool, low-key demeanor amid a few dreamy swing vamps. The musicians whirl through a potpourri of ballads and upbeat numbers with a charismatic edge. On "Shadowland," pianist Tim Ray sets the mood by counterbalancing Byrne's whispery verse via a series of introspective musings. Hence, Byrne receives sympathetic support from Pizzarelli, Hamilton, and her rhythm section of choice. The musicians transmit an overall vibe that offers a bit of respite from the daily drudgeries of life. Recommended.

Biography

Born: Massachusetts

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Donna Byrne hasn't strayed far from her birthplace as she pursues her singing career in New England. Aside from listening to big bands on the radio as a child, her first real jazz experience came when she discovered some Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald records at an uncle's house. Many years of taking dancing lessons exposed her to standards. All of this eventually led to private voice lessons. When she started working her first gig, a happy hour in Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1977 (she was eight...
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Licensed to Thrill, Donna Byrne
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