"Invitation" is an impressive introduction to the newcomer.
Emerging from the Minneapolis music scene, Hensel has been part of an a cappella group and has sung with the Rod Pierson Big Band. Seeking a more intimate sound, Hensel then formed a trio. She can be seen in jazz clubs around the Twin Cities.
She has a strong, clear voice that works well in both the higher and lower registers. She wraps that voice around an unexpected set of songs. Rather than picking the usual standards, she’s chosen several lesser-known, yet still impressive, songs, adding to the ambience of "Invitation."
The CD offers a mix of sultry ballads and swinging Big Band numbers that allow Hensel to show her range. She even gets to be a little sassy. She throws in some playful touches on "Deed I Do." And, on "Do Me Good Baby," she leaps into a lively exchange with the other musicians. The CD could use a few more moments like these. There’s nothing wrong with the slow, moody ballads, but Hensel shines on the uptempo songs.
If you are looking for a new female vocalist to listen to, seek out Hensel’s "Invitation."