Sara Latendresse is a young Montreal jazz singer with considerable talent and style. Her new album, Naked, was sent to me by a friend in Montreal. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to bring it to the attention of our readers.
The competition for female jazz singers is intense. The field runs from 15 year old wunderkind Nikki Yanofsky (another Montrealer) to CD reissues of the greats from generations past like Anita O’Day, Nina Simone, Sara Vaughn, Ella, and many in between. Happily, Latendresse can hold her own. What I very much enjoyed about her voice is the lovely timbre, the contralto tessitura, and the stylish way she phrases and tells a story.
Unlike many jazz singers, Latendresse is also a very talented songwriter. In fact, Naked, is a bit of a departure from her usual club dates and cover recordings. The style is more adult contemporary with some rhythm and blues infusing each song. Latendresse contributes both music and lyrics.
The songs are portrayed very personally (are they autobiographical?). There is a quiet intensity about Latendresse’s performance which drew this listener in completely. Believe begins the set and has ‘hit’ written all over it. The set continues with Why and the title name, Naked, each sung with great aplomb and accompanied superbly by her quartet.
The recording by Paul Johnson is of demonstration quality. Latendresse’s voice is front and center, but the guitar, piano, bass and drums can all be heard in a lovely space, surrounding her voice accurately. Latendresse has worked with her group for two years. They sound completely in sync technically and artistically.
Sure, the competition’s tough, but if you are dipping your toes into the jazz vocal world with the uber mainstream Diana Krall or deep into it with the likes of jazz divas Heather Bambrick, Carol Welsman, Melissa Stylianou, and the aforementioned greatest generation, you’ll certainly enjoy the very talented Sara Latendresse.
Naked is available at both CD Baby and iTunes.