The San Francisco duo of guitarist Tuck Andress and vocalist Patti Cathcart may have jumped to a major label, but Learning How to Fly is just the sort of album that fans of their three Windham Hill albums know and love. Eschewing big production and backing tracks, Tuck & Patti have produced another unadorned and eminently hummable collection of cabaret-pop.
Andress's nimble fingers do the job of two or three guitarists, giving Cathcart's smooth alto room to sail. She scats with breathy vigor on the bossa-nova-tinged title track, gives the Beatles' "In My Life" a lovely, understated treatment, and lets loose joyous hep-cat lyrics on the swinging "Yeah Yeah." Though a turgid remake of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" teeters toward self-indulgence, it's redeemed by the simple poignancy of the single-mother tale "Strength." All in all, Learning How to Fly soars on the wings of the duo's considerable talents. (Epic)