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Yaala Ballin, On the Road
Gallery Records, July 26

09/01/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Not a whole lot of throwback-jazz singing comes in here that’s this good, capable of evoking old Billie Holiday records playing in the background of some brooding flat. This New Yorker-by-way-of-Israel salutes but doesn’t force ’40s-authentic trumpet-voiced gimmickry, tossing out some Dinah Washington-style high-end in “Exactly Like You,” then showing off a more sprightly Ella Fitzgerald side in Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” It’s nice — though the ideas and tone are familiar, Ballin remains calm and reverent throughout, never cartoonish. Her strongest suit is the mature Holiday-style survivor-steez she can seemingly pull off at will (Monk’s “Ask Me Now”), and keep in mind that this is indeed a road album, consisting of recordings captured during a couple of live shows, a setting conducive to her band, the sax pair of Chris Byars and Zaid Nasser in particular. A —Eric W. Saeger
 






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