Album of the Day

Portrait in Soul

The first blind graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Valerie Capers is a distinguished educator as well as a recording artist. But there's nothing stuffy or academic about PORTRAIT IN SOUL, Capers' 1965 debut. Produced by Joel Dorn, the Atlantic collection benefits from both technical skills that were part of the pianist's classical training and a love for swinging jazz that ran in her family (Valerie and brother Bobby both performed with Mongo Santamaria and their dad was a friend of Fats Waller). Barring a version of the Lerner & Loewe standard “Heather on the Hill,” all the songs here are original, and the sextet joining Capers includes such fine players as trumpeter Vincent McEwen and saxophonists Robin Kenyatta and Frank Perowsky. The unheralded PORTRAIT IN SOUL deserves a place in any jazz lover's gallery.

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