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In trademark Holly Cole fashion, Night crosses different corners of the musical spectrum from the first track, a Bond theme by John Barry (You Only Live Twice), to a Mort Shuman classic (Viva Las Vegas) to Tom Waits (Walk Away, Whistling Past The Graveyard), Jaques Brel (If You Go Away) and Gordon Lightfoot (If You Could Read My Mind). Supported by musicians Cole recognizes as soul mates and companions, Night presents a reunion of the original Holly Cole Trio, featuring pianist Aaron Davis and bassist David Piltch along with co-producer Greg Cohen. The line-up is completed by Davide DiRenzo (drums), Johnny Johnson (horns), Greg Leisz (lap steel), Kevin Breit (guitars), Cyro Baptista (percussion) and others. Also available on LP.
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I've been a fan of Holly Cole since the 1990's and have over a dozen of her albums. Her style has always been appealing to me, and even her infrequent "misses" have a certain charm. However, there are no "misses" in this album; each song is just "right", even if (or perhaps especially because) the interpretation is unlike the artist's who introduced the song or made it popular. I especially liked the way she transformed "You Only Live Twice" into a languorous reflection rather than the slick pop introduction to a spy adventure. "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues" provides profound insights delivered with soulful reflection, and she makes "If You Go Away" sound like new material (although of course we'll continue to enjoy Dusty Springfield's classic and timeless rendition), while "If You Could Read My Mind" no longer belongs exclusively to her fellow Canadian, Gordon Lightfoot.
Holly's style has matured over the years, adding depth and resonance to what was already remarkably insightful and individual interpretation. It would be interesting to hear her re-visit some of her early material, yet I'm glad she continues to give us her take on interesting songs she has not sung for us before. It is easy to listen right through these songs and want to repeat the whole sequence again. (I've done that several times already.) I'm looking forward to hearing her perform this set at a live performance later this year.