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Arts Desk
Every week on the air there's a special focus on one particular jazz album. Check them all out here!

Jazz Album of the Week: Maci Miller's Round Midnight Comforts Us With Soothing Jazz Standards

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Tim Stephens
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Maci Miller

April 20, 2020. Vocalist Maci Miller is not a stranger to the Philly jazz scene, hailing from Harrisburg and now nestled in Bucks County. In fact, she’s not a stranger to the international jazz scene, with albums that have had a global reach, and one released overseas.

Her most recent release, Round Midnight, a collaboration with guitarist David O’Rourke, is exactly what we need right now: Comforting, familiar standards that are sung and played masterfully.

The mellow nature of this release allows the listener to actually revisit and savor these tried and true pages of the jazz songbook. Maci channels Blossom Dearie’s youthful inflection in “Ill Wind” and “Embraceable You,” and the addition of O’Rourke’s guitar adds a traditional edge.

“Always” demonstrates the chops of seasoned player and arranger O’Rourke, who, along with conducting his own orchestra, has worked with greats like Bucky Pizzarelli, Les Paul, and Pat Martino. The changes in this tune add interest, while still highlighting Maci’s vocal stylings. The two have know each other for years, so this collaboration was a great way for Maci to get back in to recording after a hiatus.

Listening to Round Midnight in this time of social distancing causes a yearning for a night out to a cabaret of jazz club to hear this music. As we celebrate our local artists during Jazz Appreciation Month a bit differently this year, let’s all listen together, and look forward to the day that we can all gather and support our wonderful artists.