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Live East West

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Album Review

Jacqui Naylor is a rarity — a singer/songwriter who often headlines well-known jazz clubs but is likely to include a lot of folk-rock performances in her sets. Naylor is quite capable of performing straight-ahead jazz, drawing on influences like Billie Holiday and June Christy. But on this live double CD — which includes a disc that was recorded at Birdland in New York City in 2003 and Yoshi's in Oakland, CA, in 2004 — Naylor doesn't stick to straight-ahead jazz by any means. Live East/West: Birdland/Yoshi's shows the Northern Californian to be a bluesy jazz vocalist who is equally appealing as a bluesy folk-rock/adult alternative artist. Naylor's folk-rock side asserts itself on her original material as well as arrangements of the Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" — and when she's in folk-rock/adult alternative mode, one hears a healthy appreciation of Tracy Chapman, Natalie Merchant, and Sheryl Crow. But Naylor's jazz side prevails on performances of George Gershwin's "But Not for Me" and Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones." Of course, the fact that Naylor fluctuates between folk-rock and vocal jazz doesn't mean that she's going out of her way to compartmentalize — it isn't like she's consciously saying, "OK, I'm going to be influenced by Tracy Chapman at 9:30 and June Christy at 9:35." Naylor has genuinely eclectic tastes, and whether she veers closer to folk-rock or vocal jazz is merely a matter of what feels good on a particular song. Also, the two can easily overlap; on "Black Coffee," for example, she brings to mind Chapman and Billie Holiday simultaneously. Live East/West isn't recommended to bop snobs or jazz purists, but those who are broad-minded enough to enjoy Anita O'Day one minute and 10,000 Maniacs the next will find this two-CD set to be excellent and delightfully unpredictable.

Customer Reviews


Jacqui nailed it at Yoshi's. Her mashups of jazz standards with rock is brilliant. Not everyone can pull off a jazz version of "Once in a Lifetime". Buy this won't be disappointed.

Its Jazz with a Twist

What a VOICE! Very unique and distinctive vocals. The arrangements are very cleverly worked out. The descending line of AC/DC in My Funny Valentine works like a charm. My favorite tune is For What It's Worth being sung on top of Mercy, Mercy, Mercy progression is brilliant. If you dig jazz and like a little twist of rock and funk, this is your album. As a jazz musician myself, I cannot get enough of Naylor!! You will not be disappointed.


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 performances,...
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Live East West, Jacqui Naylor
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