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Blue Again

Shared Vision - April 2001

by John Beaudin

There's an unmistakeable intimacy here, a pervasive, sensuous affair that you're bound to have with Vancouver's Karin Plato. Creating that "one on one" with the listener is no easy feat. Too many vocalists do their thing just to hear themselves sing. On Blue Again, Plato creates a great revisit to the ghosts of the past, singing standards like they were sung in your living room. What's this you say? Yet another album of standards? Well like a good joke some people know how to deliver it perfectly and others are just wannabe's. This lady is the real thing! Plato has the ability to pour her soul into her work, fully understanding the direction her voice takes and showing a sense of modesty and respect for the great material on this album.

It's refreshing to hear a worthy take on Brazilian master Antonio Carlos Jobim. Plato takes two turns here, first with the cool, spacious "Someone To Light Up My Life," a powerful duet with Celso Machado and later with the delicate "If You Never Come to Me." There's a sense of relaxation on Plato' s own tunes. The title song creates a subtle tension as she laments having one of those dark nights of the soul. 'December' is a comforting, pretty song that has a slight show-tune feel, and Plato sings it almost from a little girl's point of view, a carefree innocence that brought me back to the song time and time again.

Being a drummer, I'm not usually big on albums without percussion, but in this case it's perfect. Producer Torben Oxbol's no-preservatives-added approach to the sound gives Plato's delicious voice a lot of room to play around. Kudos also go out to guitarists Bill Coon and Oliver Gannon for playing in the minimal vein and not noodling the focus away from Plato. Oxbol's bass is a standout on Cole Porter's "Love For Sale," the track with the most legs on the album. It has a smoothness that is meant to be savored, showcasing musicians, who are truly in synch. This is clean, imaginative, mellow jazz that you will enjoy for years. Blue Again is a brilliant step forward for Karin Plato.

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