A fine jazz vocal CD

Earlier this week, I walked over to my local Tower Record store during lunch hour, looking for something or someone new to listen to. One of the listening stations had a new album titled "Under The Moon" by Barbara Sfraga, a jazz vocalist from Long Island, NY, I had never heard. The sale price was only $10.99, so I decided to listen to a few cuts, and liked it so much I bought the CD.

From her picture on the cover, Sfraga appears to be in her early 30's, although her singing sounds more mature. I'd characterize her singing style as a blend of Patricia Barber and Diane Krall, but with a bit purer voice than Barber. Sfraga is also considerably "hipper" than Barber or Krall, with a distinct touch of Mark Murphy, whom she acknowledges as a strong influence.

The songs on the album are mostly standards by some of the great song American writers: "Stardust", "Mood Indigo", "I've Grown Accustomed To His Face", "Sophisticated Lady", "Prelude To A Kiss", etc. There are two more recent songs, however, that Sfraga sings marvelously: "Under The Moon and Over The The Sky" (by Angela Bofill), and "Every Grain of Sand" (by Bob Dylan).

Sfraga's band features some really outstanding work, with crisp, edgy, guitar work that is quite reminiscent of Bill Frisell; rich, full acoustic bass; and nuanced, intelligent drumming. The band is very well recorded, with good soundstaging that places the instruments in precise locations and in proper perspective (for example, the drum kit is centered and of appropriate width, unlike some recordings that make the drum set sound 15 wide).

Sfraga's vocals are well served by the minimalist acoustic instrumentation, allowing her very clear, articulate phrasing to be heard to excellent effect. The recording perspective brings the listener into the recording studio (rather than placing the musicians in your room), although it is just the slightest bit dry.

I liked this CD very much, and I think many of you will also. While Sfraga will hardly be confused with the great Sarah Vaughn (actually, I can't think of any contemporary singer that does), she is a very pleasant "find" for me. I'd rate both the performance and the audio quality in the 8-9 point range. The album is on the A440 MusicGroup label (see the company web site at www.A440MusicGroup.com).
Thanks for the heads-up. Sounds like something I'd like, I'll have to give the cd a listen to.
Best regards,
Since I am a fan of both Barber and Krall, this should be a nice addition to my shelf of female jazz vocalists. I will look for it.
Sometimes Diana comes through as a bit too rehearsed or too produced whereas Patricia can be a bit too complex and dark. It will be interesting to discover how Sfraga fits in.
Thanks for the tip.
Amazon has it for $11.99. Apparently she has another cd too selling for 9.99.

I'll pick the one up since I like Diana and Barbara too, though personally I lean toward Diana's stuff a little more. I just like her delivery a little better.

Thanks SD :^)
In re-reading my post, I think I should have elaborated a bit more about Sfraga's style. As those who have read my posts about jazz during the past 3+ years will know, I have a strong preference for TRUE jazz singers, rather than the "jazz crooners" who have become popular in the past few years (I include both Barber and Krall in this category -- they're fine singers, just not true jazz singers).

Sfraga is closer to being a true jazz singer. She takes more risk and comes closer to making the song her own, rather than just singing the words. Her voice has a nice range, although I'd probably like it a bit more if it had a bit of darkness to it. If she continues to record, her lower range will probably get fuller, which will be to her benefit. Sfraga reminds me a bit of some of the better women singers with the big bands of the 1940's, such as Dakota Station, June Christy, and others.

For those who like female jazz vocalists that sing with a style similar to Sfraga's, you might also enjoy the work of the following artists: Karen Krall (who did a terrific album with Dexter Gordon in the late 1970's or early 1980's); Sheila Jordan; Morgana King; and DeeDee Bridgewater. (I have deliberately not mentioned the greatest of the women jazz singers, such as Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Ernestine Anderson, Betty Carter, and others who are in a pantheon all their own.)
Also consider Jacintha, she's from Singapore, a chinese / indian born singer, marvelous. Also, Diana Reeves....
Also, one should give a listen to Karren Allyson. Especially Ballads,Remembering John Coltrane and In Blue. Great phrasing and a great voice. The first was Grammy nominated.
Speaking of Dianne Reeves, her new "A Little Moonlight" is really nice. Nice stripped-down band (quartet) with Nicholas Payton showing up for one track.

Thanks for the Jazz CD recommendation!

I'm just trying to understand what her style sounds like vs. the vocalists I have already heard. OK, so if DK & PB are not "true Jazz singers" then would you consider any of the following to be true Jazz singers:-
Holly Cole
Tierney Sutton
Jane Monheit

i.e. do any of the above female vocalists sound similar in their style to Barbara Sfraga? Thanks!