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Sarah Partridge reimagines Janis Ian


Sarah Partridge, "Bright Lights and Promises: Redefining Janis Ian" (Origin)

An extremely interesting if not entirely convincing record.

Once upon a time, Janis Ian's fame came as a teen folk singer whose espousal by Leonard Bernstein of all people jolted everyone. "Society's Child" was written and recorded when she was 14 years old. "At Seventeen"  became probably her most famous song. What has happened since is, among other things, her very early public espousal of same sex marriage.

What Sarah Partridge has done here is, quite literally, a redefinition of throbbing urban folk song into jazz with pianist Allen Farnham, saxophonist Scott Robinson and trombonist Ben Williams, among others. Ian herself blesses the proceedings by joining Partridge in her funky lesbian love song "A Quarter Past Heartache." Partridge also performs "At Seventeen," "Society's Child," "I'm Still Standing" and the title song in ways no one ever thought they'd hear.

3 stars (out of four)


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