NY Times: Jazzmeia Steps Up at Dizzy's

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Wednesday May 17, 2017

From The New York Times

Review: Jazzmeia Horn, a Jazz Vocalist on the Rise, Steps Up to the Microphone at Dizzy’s
By: Giovanni Russonello

The vocalist Jazzmeia Horn began her first set at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola on Monday night with “tight” a quickly stepping jazz standard that was a signature of Betty Carters repertoire. Ms. Carter is a big influence on Ms. Horn, who delivered the tune with the same playful persuasion as her forebear.

After a run through the bobbing, stop-and-start melody, Ms. Horn traded improvisations with the tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard. She pantomimed tapping keys on her microphone as she scatted, light and sharp and sweet, with fluid harmonic movements that mimicked a horn player’s. She outlined a chord, then shifted it up, then trailed it into the air.

It was a promising coming-out party for the most talked-about jazz vocalist to emerge since C├ęcile McLorin Salvant and Gregory Porter both became stars about five years ago. Ms. Horn does not have a conceptual calling card on the level of Ms. Salvant’s archival excursions or Mr. Porters’s sage and nostalgic songwriting. But, like Mr. Porter, she’s using a striking command to project a mix of didacticism and sweetness.

And she’s possessed of some distinctive tools, all of which were on display: a pinched, sassy tone in the highest register; a fondness of unguarded duets with her bassist (at Dizzy’s, it was Noah Jackson); an array of rough pealing nonverbal sounds that add drama to codas and interludes, hinting at meanings in the music that go beyond what fits on the page.

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