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"Anjani - Blue Alert"

by Dan DeLuca

Philadelphia Inquirer

July 2, 2006
(Columbia ***)

Anjani Thomas is 25 years younger and has considerably more vocal range than her sepulchral-voiced, 71-year-old, singing-poet boyfriend, Leonard Cohen. And with Blue Alert, the Honolulu-born, half-Okinawan pianist does the melancholy Canadian bard a big favor, rescuing song fragments from the throwaway pile and turning them into 10 sultry torch songs imbued with Cohen's world-weary romanticism. The (sometimes too) stark arrangements are by Thomas, and the production by Cohen, with the former's dusky voice and jazzy piano at the forefront. "There's perfume burning in the air, bits of beauty everywhere/Shrapnel flying, soldier hit the dirt," Thomas sings at the start of the opening title cut, and the stage is set for a tender affair in which everyone winds up wounded.

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