Picks and Pans Review: Patti Austin
updated 03/12/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 03/12/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
REVIEWED BY V.R. PETERSON
Gershwin's got more than rhythm on Patti Austin's full-throttled follow-up to her '02 Grammy-nominated disc For Ella. Recorded live with Germany's WDR Big Band, Avant recasts Gershwin classics like "Summertime" and "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" into clever medleys and uptempo showstoppers, keeping the swing-era rivalries between the brass and reed sections while updating the beat with more complex modern ideas. Austin—an '80s R&B hitmaker with songs like "Baby Come to Me"—commands attention like a '40s screen siren in close-up. Throughout she radiates style and drama, singing with poise and remarkable energy, whether it's the furious scatting on "Lady Be Good" or her surprising makeover of "Swanee."
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Lady Be Good"