If Benedic Lamdin is involved, you know it’s going to be a classy affair. His Nostalgia 77 Octet released one of the smoothest jazz albums of 2007. These sessions only cement his reputation as purveyor of the cool. With Sessions, he hooks up with legendary avant-garde pianist Keith Tippett and his wife Julie (formerly Driscoll, who released several well regarded r ‘n’ b rock albums with Brian Auger in the ‘70s).
This album strikes the perfect balance between its many experimental flourishes that tantalizes the purists and the finger snapping hot jazz that gets grandmothers rocking out. Julie’s voice has aged like fine wine, and seems more versatile than ever. She ably belts out swoon-worthy croons and skips through the most passionate scat this side of Sarah Vaughn without sounding at all strained. Her vocals shape the album just as much as the all-star musicians behind her. On the whole, Sessions has more fun and variety than three Matthew Shipp albums combined.