Most re-issues could easily include the sub title, "If at first you don't succeed..." On occasion you find that rare jewel that has simply been lost in the shuffle based on catalog reorganization and various legal reasons not to mention the overwhelming factor of an economy that is still on the ropes.
Justin Time Records has re-issued Stages, a stellar release that showcases the flawless hybrid possible when jazz and pop come together in the hands of an artist that transcends "singer" and becomes a "vocalist." The warmth and organic simplicity of Loren's presentation transcend genre as she manipulates her inviting alto in the same fashion as a musical chameleon. Long story short...Halie Loren could sing the phone book.
Did I mention this is a live recording? A live recording with two previously unreleased bonus tracks has Loren comfortably in her wheelhouse showcasing her formidable skills on tunes that run the table from "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" to "Summertime." No doubt an eclectic mix but the addition of some Loren originals including "Danger In Loving You" and "They Oughta Write A Song" are welcome additions and fit seamlessly into the mix and with inspired results.
Another key to success here is that Loren posses the unique and incredibly natural ability of connectivity with the audience. Loren does more than sing the words, she makes the music. Rare. A logical question for the uninitiated is always "Who does she sound like?" While the obvious is she sounds like herself, a viable frame of reference with which to consider may be a musical happy place between Diana Krall and Norah Jones of course taste is subjective...
While Loren is still in her twenties her skill sets are equal to or in some cases twenty years ahead of some of her forty something contemporaries. An incredibly entertaining release. Spot on vocals, the intimacy of a live performance with a first call band places Stages in the more than memorable pile and a superb choice for reissue.
Tracks: Danger In Loving You; Sunny Afternoon; I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For; More; Cry Me A River; The Girl From Ipanema; Free To Be Loved By Me; Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby; Love Me Like A River Does; They Oughta Write A Song; High Heel Blues; Summertime; My Rainbow Race; I'd Rather Go Blind; Nearness Of You.
Personnel: Halie Loren: vocals; Matt Treder: keyboards; Mark Schneider: bass; Tim McLaughlin: trumpet; Brian West: drums.