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***1/2 Jane Siberry



Canadian singer/songwriter Jane Siberry has at last embraced the perfect idiom for her beguiling, poetic muse. Composed as well as recorded in the studio, this album has Siberry backed by a jazz trio that features pianist Tim Ray (of Orange Then Blue and other Boston outfits), drummer Brian Blade (Joshua Redman), and bassist Christopher Thomas (Redman, Betty Carter). Free of the fragmented, over-indulgent tone of her last few albums, Maria shimmers with grace and a playful innocence that mirrors the storybook images "See the Child" and the wistful nuances of the title track. "Loving Cup" is a precious slice of jazz pop, with Siberry doing a breathy chanteuse turn even Blossom Dearie would admire; on "Begat Begat" you can hear Siberry turn some Hebrew phrases into a clever bit of scat singing. The disc includes a 20-minute suite entitled "Oh My My," which has references to a forgotten childhood juxtaposed against a step-by-step primer on adulthood: "You will begin the long process of shutting down/You will discover drugs and alcohol." Maria is Siberry's best work in ages.

- David Gérard


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