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CD Review
Anna Givens - SkyLark

Anna Givens

SkyLark
Record Label: Galena Street Music
Review by Sal Serio
September 2010

If you long for the sad, sultry torch songs that were the trademark of all the great women jazz singers of the classic era - Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan – than boy, have I got a CD for you. The only singer currently performing that comes anywhere close to capturing this sincere an essence of pure jazz is perhaps Norah Jones, but I’d still place all bets on Anna Givens.

SkyLark is Givens’ solo debut, highlighted by her silky and emotive crooning with only piano and occasional bass as accompaniment. Of significant note is the pianist, Claude Black, who shares history with some of the all-time jazz greats, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, and Wes Montgomery. The SkyLark sessions were recorded “in the moment” without any overdubs.

While Givens is perhaps best known in the Midwest as she is based out of Ohio and gigs often in Detroit, her name may also ring a bell in the Rocky Mountain region. Recently Anna had been a member of blues guitarist Eddie Turner’s band. Husband and producer David Givens, who guests on bass, was a member of the classic psychedelic era band Zephyr. Don’t expect to hear any rock or blues here though - this one is strictly for the jazz cats.

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