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Christy Baron Steppin CD Cover
Image © \r\nChesky Records 2000

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Christy Baron
Image © 2000 Chesky Records

(18 November 2000) The second jazz-oriented project by singerand actress Christy Baron is entitled Steppin' (Chesky Records (USA) JD201, 2000). Twelve tracks spanning slightly over 50 minutes focus on what Baron calls "modern standards" or "new standards." As with all Chesky's products, this is an audiophile recording incorporating their high resolution'96/24' technology. Like the label's other projects, this album was recorded live, this time over a three day stint in St Peter's Episcopal Church. Chesky's technical production, compact disc pressing and overall packaging are still the best.

One of the new standards is Christy's unique jazz interpretation of Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street" covered last year by Miriam Stockley on her debut solo album.An equally unique, world-beat style, interpretation of The Beatles' "TomorrowNever Knows," and string-based jazz interpretation of Prince's "Thieves In The Temple" certain to appeal to a broad audience also adorn the stunning compact disc. Baron's voice blends throatiness with crystal clear vocalisations to produce a sound that is as evocative as it is sensual.

The bluesy texture and lounge sound of Christy's interpretation of the Phil Collins' classic "This Must Be Love" is lovely. Alex Hendersonwrote, "Steppin' will come as a surprise to those whose introductionto Baron was her recording debut of 1996, I Thoguht About You. Whilethat Cliff Korman-produced effort wasn't without R&B and pop elements andfound Baron interpreting The Beatles' "Got To Get You Into My Life,"Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Stevie Wonder's "Summer Soft," itwas acoustic-oriented and employed a basic piano trio."

"On Steppin' we wanted to do something different," says DavidChesky, "so I asked Didier Rachou to take a few chances and produce somethingnew." He is more contemporary in his approach, mixing jazz, world musicand cutting edge-electronica styles. And it's clearly evident in thetracks "Is Love Enough," "Night and Day"—sung as a contrasting duet between Christy Baron and Curtis King—and the album's signature track "Ain't No Half-Steppin'." The dimensions of Chesky's production quality shines in Christy's lovely interpretation of the Atlanta Rhythm Section's "Spooky."

We especially enjoyed Baron's performance of The Zombies'"She's Not There." She puts a very funky, R&B spin on the song. CommentsBaron, "My interpretation of 'She's Not There' changes the whole perspectiveof the song. When The Zombies recorded it, 'She's Not There' was done froma guy's perspective. But my version is a woman telling a guy, 'Get it together,she's not around, but I'm here. Get over it." The raw clarity of Christy'svoice is evident in "The Shadow Of Your Smile" with its especially lightjazz lounge accompaniment.

From the liner notes, Christy Baron comments, "If Miles Davis werealive today, he'd be continuing to grow and challenge himself. He had to do hisown thing, which is why he was an inspiration to so many artists. It's importantfor artists to express what they honestly feel—and with this album, I was able toincorporate many of the styles that I love and use them to make a personalstatement."

We agree with LA Jazz Scene who insists Christy Baron is "a young singer well worth keeping an eye on." Listen to soundbites, read further reviews and order the album at amazon.comhere. A jazz-oriented album that blends sounds from pop, R&B, electronica andworld beat, this latest project from Christy Baron on Chesky Records is worth ajourney—indeed a very nice listen!

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