SHARON CLARK "Do It Again: My Tribute to Shirley Horn" Independent

Friday, April 18, 2008

SHARON CLARK"Do It Again: My Tribute to Shirley Horn"Independent

SALUTING WASHINGTON native Shirley Horn, the great jazz vocalist and pianist who died in 2005, poses many challenges for an artist, but searching for quality songs isn't one.

On "Do It Again," Washington-based singer Sharon Clark often reminds us of Horn's impeccable taste, beginning with "The Great City," Curtis Lewis's cautionary tale. It is a delightful start to an album that honors Horn's legacy without sounding derivative or constrained. In fact, Clark's performances point to other obvious role models: Ella Fitzgerald, during a spirited, scat-laced "Lover Come Back to Me," and Sarah Vaughan, during the closing "Speak Low."

Yet with her rich contralto and spot-on intonation, Clark wears her influences lightly. She sounds right at home on "I Remember You," when a combo led by pianist Chris Grasso conjures the intimate sound of Horn's trio. The same is true of Clark's performance on the blues-tinted "I Worry About You," in which saxophonist Paul Carr's soulful tenor recalls Horn's collaborations with reedman Buck Hill.

The album offers welcome mood shifts and surprises, too, including a brisk, snare-slapped duet rendition of "Secret Love," featuring drummer (and album producer) Lenny Robinson.

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Wednesday at Blues Alley (202-337-4141, Shows start at 8 and 10.

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