Picks and Pans Review: Transblucency

updated 05/19/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/19/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Maria Muldaur

No pop singer is more adventuresome in her choice of material or more successful in rediscovering ignored songs. This album includes several shelved standards: You've Changed, Lazy Afternoon and the Andy Razaf/Fats Waller tune How Can You Face Me? There are also newer songs, like Dave Frishberg's supercynical Wheelers and Dealers and Rio de Janeiro Blue, the evocative Richard Torrance-John Haeny composition previously sung by Nicolette Larson and almost no one else. Muldaur's backup band serves her well on this LP, with pianist Kenny Barron and saxophonist Frank Wess playing in a swinging, mainstream jazz mode that fits in smoothly with her vocals. What's unfortunate is Muldaur's quavery, diaphonous voice. She so often seems to be drifting off pitch that listening to her can become a queasy experience. This effect is less noticeable on more up-tempo tunes like Massachusetts. If only there were more of that sure-toned, confident sound giving voice to this fascinating bunch of songs. (Uptown)

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