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Haunted Heart by Sarah Lynch

Haunted Heart is a wonderful debut album by New York City-based singer/songwriter Sarah Lynch. Lynch, a classical singer with a Masters degree in piano performance, took up jazz some six years ago. She has been likened to a young Peggy Lee and lists Lee among her influences, along with Jo Stafford, Dinah Washington, Anita O'Day and Diane Reeves. Actually she has a distinctive voice and the ability to sing (and swing) clearly at all tempos. "Runnin' Wild" proves the point. This is no easy task; we have all heard classical singers overwhelm popular music with their oh-so-perfect diction.

The program is made up of standards and interesting originals and, with few exceptions, backing is provided by a nice tight group of guitar, bass, drums, trombone and trumpet. Pete McCann on guitar seems to be everywhere!

Lynch has an affinity for vintage standards. The title tune salutes Jo Stafford. She is wistful on "Tell Him I Said Hello," a tune only recorded by Betty Carter in 1955 until revived by Linda Ronstadt in 2004. Her rapport with her fellow musicians is evident whether it's visiting New Orleans on " You've Got to See Momma," trading fours with trumpeter Dave Smith on "Comes Love " or making room for a strong bass solo by Phil Palombi on Ellington's " All Too Soon." I have often thought that there should be a law requiring compositions by Duke and Jobim to appear on every vocal album, so thank you, Sarah. It just doesn't get better than her version of " Chega de Saudade."

Lynch's expressive voice fits the intimate setting of her original compositions. On two she provides solo piano accompaniment. On another pair it's guitar and soft rhythm. Varying in style and mood, these songs, while very personal, deal with emotions and life situations that are universal.

"Progress," the upbeat opener, is the key to Sarah Lynch's philosophy. Spurred on by Tim Albright's down-home trombone, she sings of grabbing at what's out of her reach, wondering what's around the corner. Based on this disc I expect she'll find good things there.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Sarah Lynch
  • CD Title: Haunted Heart
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Runt One
  • Rating: Five Stars
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