A debut album by a smart jazz singer with a lithe, lissome sound is always welcome, but when the artist is also a strikingly effective songwriter, a celebration is in order. With the release of Halfway Between Heaven & Love, Oakland-based Suzanna Smith delivers one of the year’s most impressive vocal projects, an intoxicating mix of original tunes and beautifully rendered standards.
Accompanied by some of the most creative figures on the Bay Area scene, Smith combines the confessional imperative of a singer/songwriter with the rhythmic acuity of a jazz chanteuse. She wrote the lyrics for nine of the album’s 13 tracks while collaborating on the music of five songs with pianist/keyboardist Michael Coleman. Smith’s material more than holds its own alongside the American Songbook gems.
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