Jazz is a musical form that Bluesbunny likes to avoid. It is all a bit too clever for its own good and too often sacrifices emotion for technical dexterity. Then again, there are always exceptions to the rule. This was the case when we came to review this album by Jennifer Hanson. Classy and satisfying, this album even has a proper drinking song.
The title track "How the Night People Pray" is pure poetry set to music and Ms Hanson's interpretation is right on the money. We doubt that even the mercurial Holly Cole could better it. With its air of sadness and regret, it is the star track of the album. Not that the rest disappoints. The aforementioned drinking song - "Drunk Again" - evokes smoky rooms and shadows and makes real the lives of those who live in the darkness. "When I'm With You" highlights her abilities to handle rhythm and shows off an endearing huskiness to her voice. The Spanish flavoured "Only Waiting" ends the album leaving us with the kind of feeling that men get after they have watched Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. If you love that film, you will understand.
Perhaps because it is produced by Graham Shaw (who wrote the songs and plays on it as well), this album convinces on both an artistic and emotional level. You can admire the technical perfection of the performances but it is the truly exquisite voice of Ms Hanson that draws you in and keeps things far, far away from bland, lounge jazz. As your taste in music matures, you learn to appreciate more than the three minute pop song. We hope to hear a lot more from Ms Hanson.