I love great discoveries. I didn’t know anything about Hikari Ichihara before listing to her album ‘Sings & Plays.’ As a matter of fact, the whole time I was listening to it, I thought she was a singer-pianist in the vein of Shirley Horn. But when I researched her after, I found out she plays the trumpet, and even better! I truly loved this album and even going to say that she is a real jazz singer, and instrumentalist. She shines in both the swinging tunes and also the ballads – listen to her great uptempo ‘My Funny Valentine,’ as well as the tender ‘But Beautiful.’ This is someone who knows what she is doing, and has the heart to convey the messages in all these standards.