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Holly Cole Examines Subtext in Song

Canadian jazz vocalist Holly Cole officially began her first U.S. tour in six years with a sold-out, one-night stand at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle. On the afternoon preceding that show, Cole and her band dropped by the KPLU studios for a three-song performance and an interview with KPLU music director Nick Francis. If Cole was thinking of her visit to our studio as a warm-up for that evening's tour kickoff, it was totally unnecessary; she and her trio were more than ready to get down to the business of making great music.

Cole began the session with "The House Is Haunted by the Echo of Your Last Goodbye," the first song on her excellent new self-titled CD. It was a perfect choice. Out of all the fine songs on her latest release, this is the one that we think stands out and most clearly says, "Holly Cole is ready to be elevated above cult status in the U.S." She quickly followed with another treat, Stephen Sondheim's "Losing My Mind," a song she recorded with Wayne Shorter for a Sondheim tribute CD. To cap her performance, she gave us "Larger Than Life," an original composition in which the lightning bolts of Zeus are dismissed as parlor tricks when compared to the fireworks of love.

All in all, it was the kind of performance that Cole's fans have come to expect from her: carefully chosen songs and fresh, surprising arrangements, fueled by one of the most compelling voices in jazz.

Originally recorded March 3, 2008.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

Copyright 2008 KNKX Public Radio