Brenda Russell,
Between the Sun & the Moon
(Narada, 2004)

Brenda Russell, a smooth jazz singer and songwriter, has released another album that mixes different styles to form a totally new, interesting sound. Between the Sun & the Moon really has a lot to offer for the listener.

The opening track, "Make You Smile," starts with a Brazilian feel, but then transforms into a club-like tune. The chill-out track "Too Cool for the Room" totally deserves its name. Although "The Message" starts with some oriental feelings, it soon gets a flowing melody that demostrates Russell's vocal abilities at their best.

The height of the album arrives with the title track. Percussion gives an African tinge to the tune, while Russell still remains quite cool in her vocal tone. However, backing singers make it all up with their hot sound. The only negative factor to this song -- and actually in all of the songs on this recording -- is the tasteless fade-out at the end.

If the first part of this recording is inspiring to listen to, then the last and unfortunately bigger part gives little ammunition for your ears. The following tracks are not boring, they are just plain compared to the first four or five. However, "It's a Jazz Day" -- a song with funny lyrics and catchy vocals -- puts a promising end to Brenda Russell's smooth-jazz masterpiece.

by Ester Eggert
2 September 2006

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