Echo: Echo (New Line Records)

The interpretations are airy and moody as if they are meant to be heard in a club with martini in hand.

Why do performers, at a certain point in their career, turn to Cole Porter? Well, first off because he is the lynch pin of all that is good in modern music: “Night and Day” “You Send Me,” “Down in the Depths on the 90th Floor.” The man could write the most beautiful and complete songs and performers have always, always been thankful for them (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Fred Astaire, Paul McCartney, the whole Red Hot and Blue crowd).

So it was no surprise that Joy Askew, a talented singer and songwriter, decided that perhaps now was the time for Porter (as well as a few others, including Jobim, Mann and Hilliard, and several self-penned songs). What started as an experiment with Tak (“trumpet playing bleep wizard”), New York City’s Shine jelled into Echo. The interpretations are airy and moody as if they are meant to be heard in a club with martini in hand. Tak lays down a blend of downtempo, house, and drum and bass, which acts as a sensuous base for Askew’s voice that falls so elegantly between a sigh and a passionate whisper. She truly captures the melancholy that is the hallmark of Porter’s music.

I can’t say that Echo is the most original album. Some songs just don’t need reinterpretation. Yet, it is always interesting to see what a group can do with something that has been interpreted so often and so well. Echo does find some new nuances. It is mostly just a pleasure to hear these comfortable old words from a voice that deserves more attention.

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