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The Rules of the Game

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Album Review

German-born but based in Toronto, Adi Braun is less a jazz singer in the traditional sense than part of the current crop of eclectic pop singers who use cabaret as a starting point. Less dramatic than Rufus Wainwright, less poppy than Nellie McKay or Sylvie Lewis, less twee than Erin Bode, Braun has the skillful phrasing of a jazz chanteuse in the Peggy Lee mold and a flair for interpretation that occasionally suggests Lotte Lenya. The closing rendition of Edith Piaf's "Hymne a l'Amour" is pure 1930s Europe in its world-weary sophistication, and Braun puckishly changes lyrics in standards like "Honeysuckle Rose" to hint at more earthly delights than Tin Pan Alley songsmiths usually allowed themselves to discuss. But for the most part, Braun and her small combo (piano, bass, drums, and occasional tenor saxophone) stick to simple jazz-based arrangements that put all of the focus on Braun's lovely, softly accented voice. Those few songs that move furthest away from the style tend to be weakest: at the album's nadir, Perry White's sleazy 1970s tenor solos on the tepidly soft-rocking "About Last Night" will bring fern-bar flashbacks and unpleasant memories of that unfortunate period when Joni Mitchell thought she was a jazz singer. Overall, however, The Rules of the Game focuses on solid material, mostly from the pens of young Canadian jazz and pop songwriters instead of the usual over-familiar Great American Songbook selections, given warm and inviting treatment by a well-attuned combo.


Born: Germany

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Although Adi Braun has been active on the Canadian jazz scene since the mid-'90s, the Toronto-based jazz/cabaret vocalist was actually born and raised in Germany. Braun, in fact, sings with a slight German accent, but slight is definitely the operative word because her English is quite understandable. Like Jeanette Lindström in Sweden and Soesja Citroen and Fay Claassen in Holland, Braun is a good example of a jazz-friendly singer who has no problem singing convincingly in English even though she...
Full Bio
The Rules of the Game, Adi Braun
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Oct 26, 2005

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