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Suzi Stern

Romancing the Dark (Bus Biscuit Records)

Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., Sept. 27, 2013

Texas Platters

Suzi Stern

Romancing the Dark (Bus Biscuit Records)

Although usually associated with the Austin jazz community, Suzi Stern transcends the limitations of genre with this subtly compelling, quietly evocative collection of original compositions and imaginative arrangements that prove to be her most ambitious project to date. Stern surrounds herself with a cast of local virtuosos, most notably her pianist and musical partner George Oldziey. A tasteful combination of instruments, Oldziey's accordion and James Anderson's violin for instance, layer the sound to evoke a European cabaret vibe on "Air" and "Tango for Tina," with a splash of klezmer on the title track in John Mills' clarinet. Trumpeter Mike Sailors blows quite effective on "Deeper Quiet," an ethereal tune on which Stern's jazz sensibilities serve her well. This is a mature, contemplative album that requires intimate listening, and while Stern's vocals admirably carry the program, its within the limited range permitted by these delicate tunes. (Suzi Stern plays the Brass House Sat., Sept. 28, 9pm.)

***

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