Thirteen Female Jazz Vocalists You Need to Hear – By Jeff Wilson – The Absolute Sound

Everything about the debut album by Kari Kirkland is polished. The black and white photographs on the album cover of Wild is the Wind could be ads in a fashion magazine; the arrangements skillfully frame Kirkland’s voice; and the distinguished list of guest artists includes the late Roy Hargrove on trumpet and flugelhorn. The album was arranged and produced by four-time Grammy nominee Shelly Berg, and the recordings took place at United Recording Studios in L.A. The sound is clean, velvety, and full-bodied. Some tracks give a jazzy twist to pop tunes (like Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues”), but jazz standards like “Too Close for Comfort” and “It’s All Right with Me” are also included. Kirkland has a seductive voice that blends in smoothly with arrangements that add some contemporary jazz stylings. Although it’s available digitally and as a compact disc, I first heard Wild is the Wind on vinyl, and it may be the best-sounding new platter I’ve come across this year. It’s easy to imagine Wild Is the Wind playing at the next audio show—but don’t wait until then to give it a listen.

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