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You Don't Know Jacq

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Album Review

With Jacqui Naylor, you learn to always expect the unexpected, from album to album, from song to song, even within a given tune. Part jazz chanteuse and part folk-pop-leaning singer/songwriter, she enjoys nothing more than mixing things up. She could easily get by performing only her own material, but her covers are so appealingly original in their execution that her albums wouldn't be quite as entertaining without them. Naylor specializes in what she calls smashes. In one early example here, that means taking the familiar Allman Brothers Band riff from "Whipping Post" and grafting the lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin's "Summertime" on top of it. That it works so well is only a surprise if you've never heard Naylor do it before. And those who've been with her for a while will have heard several of these tunes before, including the previously mentioned one, her sultry, bluesy take on R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," and her jazzed-up working of the Rolling Stones' "Miss You." Some may also recall hearing Naylor's original composition "Rise Up," which was borrowed by President Obama's campaign for his website. For sheer shock value, you can't beat what may just be the quirkiest "My Funny Valentine" ever, both for its stark violin intro and its crafty fusion of elements of AC/DC's "Back in Black." And the opening salvo, the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love," is truly exquisite in her hands. But lest You Don't Know Jacq be taken as a novelty exercise, there's also plenty of straight-ahead singing here, on originals like "This Is the Spot" and "City by the Bay," and the covers of "Black Coffee" and "Ain't No Sunshine," to alleviate any doubt that she could go that route if she saw fit. Until such time that the eclecticism and surprise get old, she's got the blend just right here.

Customer Reviews

A must to have

Melancholic voice
Chanting full emotions
Delicious album
To savor over wine, candles, and best memories to retrieve


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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You Don't Know Jacq, Jacqui Naylor
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