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Can You Hear Me Now? Madeline Eastman (Live)

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Album Review

Californian Madeline Eastman, blessed with an absolutely perfect voice, can run rings around just about any jazz singer, but chooses not to blow you away with animated or histrionic acrobatics, preferring to dig deep into a sophistication that is quite easy to enjoy — and if you listen closely, she mainlines straight to the heart of any matter. This live concert date at the famous Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, at Half Moon Bay near the San Francisco area, features Eastman with her prime elements of playfulness, heightened emotion, abstract cool, and deftly enunciated phrasings that mark her as one of the few original jazz singers who refuses to compromise commercially. Her outstanding band with pianist Randy Porter and the imported East Coast pros of peerless bassist Rufus Reid and lithe, limber drummer Matt Wilson supplies all the top-notch musicianship required to match Eastman's hip, literate, and precise vocal legerdemain step for step. Her cut-up version of the Sonny Rollins favorite "Pent Up House" is an "aw shucks" tune with her original lyrics, a tale where she eventually tells a recent acquaintance she "forgot your name." The band tears up "I Love You" and the solid swinger "You Say You Care" with extrapolated second and third choruses, and she extols the virtues or perils of shopping for jewelry on television on the intro before the cute "Baubles, Bangles and Beads." Eastman and Jeff Pittson's arrangement of "Slow Boat to China" wedded to Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" works very well, a nice twist and corollary, where the soulful, modal "Show Me" could easily have been charted by Horace Silver. Vocalists have a thing for doing a duo with their bassists, and Reid is her perfect foil during the midtempo "Gone with the Wind," while the closer, "Epistrophy," is a perfectly funky get-up/get-down affair. Madeline Eastman has produced several very good recordings, but she's at the top of her game when captured live, and cheesy cell phone slogan title notwithstanding, she should be listened to by a larger chunk of the general populace. Her kind of jazz singer is far from a dime a dozen. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 27 June 1954 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In her career as a jazz singer, Madeline Eastman has remained close to home while establishing a worldwide presence without recording for a major label, instead releasing a series of independently produced, critically acclaimed recordings. Born June 27, 1954, in San Francisco, CA, she grew up listening to pop tunes on the radio, including those sung by Barbra Streisand, Jack Jones, Vic Damone, and Eydie Gorme, among others. In her senior year of high school, she viewed the film Lady Sings the Blues...
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Can You Hear Me Now? Madeline Eastman (Live), Madeline Eastman
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