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Poetry of Love

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Album Review

The name Angela Hagenbach may be new to jazz fans living beyond her hometown of Kansas City, but her sultry, restrained, and breathy vocal style is beautifully familiar — at times, you might feel you're listening to a new Diana Krall project, but with a more exotic edge. This is especially clear when she plays it straight and sticks to the trio format, as she does on the easy swinging "I Can't Believe You're in Love With Me." The real key to Hagenbach's artistry — and what will help her establish her own identity — is her unique choices of style (journeying often into world music territory) and her love for a colorful delivery of very poetic lyrics. She turns Michael Franks' soulful "Tell Me All About It" into a cool, sexy bossa with a Rhodes undercurrent (courtesy of Roger Wilder). The bossa treatment of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "It Might as Well Be Spring" is similarly colorful. She turns "Dark Dreams," an original sonnet by lyricist Phyllis Becker, into a lively, witty Afro-Cuban adventure that allows her to express a deeper vocal timbre. Hagenbach then turns Becker's pantoum poem "You Keep Calling Me" into a brisk, gleefully percussive jam done in the Bahian afoxe style. Closer to home, she tackles "Blues Are Brewin'" by alternating her own seductive style with a hilarious historic dialogue with a mumbling Clark Terry, who also adds his inimitable muted trumpet expertise to the track. Other all-star guests who should help Hagenbach boost her visibility are Russell Malone and Jimmy Heath.


Born: 1960 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the top Brazilian jazz singers based in Kansas City, Angela Hagenbach has thus far released two strong recordings on the Amazon label. Hagenbach grew up in a musical family; her father was a saxophonist and her mother a pianist. The seventh of eight children, she played trombone for seven years. She also worked as a model, played keyboards and sang in a top 40 band. In 1989 she discovered Sarah Vaughan and immediately switched to jazz singing. A year later Hagenbach began working regularly...
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Poetry of Love, Angela Hagenbach
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