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Lucky Girl

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Album Review

Jacqui Naylor has never been afraid to keep listeners guessing. She performs straight-ahead vocal jazz so convincingly that some admirers think that she is really a jazz singer at heart; she performs folk-rock and adult alternative so convincingly that other admirers believe that she is really a singer/songwriter at heart. And Naylor doesn't become any easier to categorize on Lucky Girl, which not only contains vocal jazz and folk-rock/adult alternative performances, but also moves into soul territory at times. This 2011 release finds Naylor putting her spin on a variety of familiar songs, which range from Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff's "Close the Door" (a major solo hit for the late Teddy Pendergrass in 1978, which was two years after he left Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes) to Henry Mancini's "Moon River" to Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart." And Naylor still has fun with "acoustic smashing," which is her term for combining songs in unorthodox ways. For example, her interpretation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" borrows the melody of George Benson's "Breezin'"; it's not what one expects from that Tin Pan Alley standard, but Naylor makes the two songs sound like a perfectly natural combination. And she even manages to surprise us on the Matt Dennis warhorse "Angel Eyes," which is one of those great but overdone standards that has been absolutely beaten to death over the years. Naylor's unlikely version is surprisingly funky; rarely does one hear "Angel Eyes" performed with such an overt R&B influence. The original songs (Naylor co-wrote nine of the CD's eleven tracks with pianist and longtime collaborator Art Khu) aren't any less surprising; one never knows if a Naylor/Khu original will favor straight-ahead jazz or folk-rock/adult alternative. Naylor's sense of adventure is alive and well on Lucky Girl, which is yet another creative triumph for the hard-to-categorize vocalist.

Customer Reviews

Just awesome !!!

Saw Jacqui play in SF and immediately became a fan. Lucky Girl is my new anthem!

Very nice with good variety

Jacuqi Naylor clearly is into exploring different arrangements, both musically and vocally. In this era of so much over-electrification (almost certainly not a word) of music, it's great when someone is able to make both old and new songs interesting using a few instruments combined with a healthy dose of musical sensisbilities. That also means that once in awhile there will likely be a miss or two, but it nevertheless makes Lucky Girl a very enjoyable ride from top to bottom.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jacqui Naylor is not an easy artist to categorize. There are times when she performs straight-ahead vocal jazz, but at other times she favors more of a folk-rock/adult alternative approach. Depending on the mood she is in at a given moment, the northern Californian can bring to mind anyone from Cassandra Wilson or British jazz vocalist Claire Martin to Sarah McLachlan or Shawn Colvin — she is as comfortable among jazz improvisers as she is in the singer/songwriter world. During one of her live...
Full Bio
Lucky Girl, Jacqui Naylor
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock
  • Released: Sep 27, 2011

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