Stephanie Porter is a world-class jazz vocalist who has toured France, England and Canada to name a few and released a good amount of music. Her latest release Radio Theatre is eclectic but unequivocally jazz. She mixes it up from fast paced, upbeat almost swing songs to a style you could imagine on a Christmas album to a sultry and seductive style you might imagine playing in a noir style jazz club.
It doesn’t take long to recognize she has a great voice. There is strength in her voice even when she sings softly that provide a sense of solace. She is also quite dynamic in her range and knows to stress certain inflections and then when to hold back.
The album starts with “He Thinks That I’m Wonderful” which is undeniable a passionate and sensual song. I don’t think that Porter could deny there are sexual, seductive undertones on this track. That being said it’s classy, refined and clean. The whole time the song was playing I was thinking Porter playing this in a dimly lit jazz club where everyone's attention was focused on her. I have to admit Jessica Rabbit also came to mind.
Porter touts a similar vibe on “Into November” but things start to shift in “Around the World.” “Around the World” is a percussive heavy song has some textures and tones that you might not expect on a jazz album. ”Come Back To Me” was a personal highlight that worked on a faster BPM, a walking bass line and could work as a show tune. The song contains some fantastic jazz drumming and even has a short Gene Krupa style solo, which was certainly enjoyable.
Something about the tempo and delivery on “Poor Little Child” made it sound like it could be on a Christmas album while “No More Blues” implements a Bossa Nova groove into mix. Great stuff. As the album progresses Porter continues to display diversity such as “Day Dreams” which make you feel like you are in Paris by combining accordion and “la la la’s.”
Radio Theatre is a superbly produced and well-written record. At the end of the day it won’t convert those you who don’t have an appreciation for different jazz styles but if you do I think Radio Theatre is an album you will want to spend some time with.
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