Carol Sloane and Carol Fredette, two of the finest jazz singers working today, opened at Charlie's Tuesday night with a sparkling set that depended mostly on standards but did not exclude the unfamiliar, the new and a novelty or two.
Fredette stepped in and out of songs that were as different as night and day. Her versatile voice dropped to a mannish baritone on "Get Out of Town," purred softly on some Shakespearean lyrics and mixed duck quack and Portuguese scat to a hot Latin beat. In duo With bassist Paul Langosch, Fredette's voice was in precise step and pitch, with the rhythm player's walking line.
What was uncanny about Sloane was her control of voice and her radar-sensitive ears. These were both isolated in several a capella passages in which her melody never drifted a millimeter and her sense of swing was wicked. She punched "It Could Happen to You" to a finish of traded "fours" with drummer Keith Kilgo and floated a cloud-soft "Lady in the Dark" out upon the hushed dinner crowd. And, of course, she offered her drole epic, "Fraser the Aging Lion."
Fredette joined Sloane for a set-closing jam on "Foggy Londontown," which the two voices heated up like saxophones locked in battle at an after-hours cutting session.
Pianist Stef Scaggiari was his usual supportive self in tying all this together.
The two Carols with trio remain through Sunday.