Clare’s Requests (Music Thoughts: Clare Teal, At Your Request)

I remember Clare Teal from the early 90s, and for some reason I used to confuse her with Stacey Kent, maybe because they were on the same label. Kent skyrocketed to larger stardom, maybe because her sound was distinctive. I know I have a couple of Clare teal albums on my collection, and it looks like she has a couple of them( there were thirteen available on iTunes)  but I don’t remember much to be honest.  So when I got a hold of her new one, “At Your Request,” I decided to pay more attention and write about it. Listening to this one, there’s no doubt she is a great singer : clear voice with a jazz flare, with careful lyric consideration. Backed by her “mini Big Band,” the arrangements are nice and supple, I mean she knows what she is doing, as evidenced by her hosting BBC Big Band every Sunday night on BBC 2.  The musicianship on this album is first rate all-around.  But, I couldn’t help but look for something more. At first listen, it was good music, but it was also kind of forgettable.  The songs elections are obvious choices (perhaps because these are fans requests? ) and while she sings them with much gusto, there’s not much int hose songs that surprise me anymore. I mean, I like the hot and swinging “Mountain Greenery” and the thoughtful “The Folks Who Live On the Hill,”  but I don’t know if i will ever find myself reaching for her tracks, as I already have definitive performances of those from Patti Page and Peggy Lee, respectively.

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