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Linda Carone - Lemon Twist
Linda Carone Music, 2023
Canadian jazz vocalist Linda Carone is fluent in the language of sass. Sass combines confidence, a winking eye, and a wicked noir sense of humor with the talent to bring it all off with beautiful strutting elegance. Carone's two previous recordings, So Many Beautiful Men, So Little Time (Linda Carone Music, 2020) and Black Moonlight (Linda Carone Music, 2017) were steeped in the steamy climes of sass: grown-up (but not too much), sexy, and coyly aware.
Carone sees no reason to change direction now. Lemon Twist is an entertaining collection of 11 mostly off-the-beaten-path standards, several given breezy Latin seasoning (some lightly, some heavily). The recording inaugurates with Bobby Troup's 1954 title composition. Carone is backed by the basic rhythm section of pianist Jeremy Ledbetter, bassist George Koller, and drummer Ben Wittman, giving the listener evidence of the unit anchoring the recording. Of particular note is bassist Koller's full and elastic tone, expansive enough to fill a room, issued with impeccable timekeeping throughout the recording. His is the glue securing all that comes after.
While confident in the mainstream, Carone excels and dominates within the Latin tinge. "Mariguana Cha Cha Cha" breaks the Afro-Cubano ice, introducing saxophonist Johnny Johnson and trumpeter Alexander Brown, who combine with the piquant abilities of pianist Ledbetter to provide the singer a potently driven clave rhythm. Carone parlays this energy into a lilting "Thrill Me," a samba-licous "Tobasco," and a swaggering "Eso Es El Amor." Carone's vocals are playfully confident as is her Spanish delivery.
Carone includes her 2020 single "So Many Beautiful Men, So Little Time" strategically on this full-throated offering, tucked among the humid Latin numbers. It is the fun side of standard with "You Don't Know What Love Is" being the opposite. Carone's delivery overall and that of her support are detailed and precise, rendering a completely satisfying product.