Singer Jackie Ryan explores a diversity of interests and idioms on Listen Here. The album is strong and well conceived, displaying Ryan's great ability to tackle varied material while maintaining a singular and individual approach. Every lyric Ryan sings is delivered with the deepest conviction and absolute confidence in the material and her fellow musicians. Produced by John Clayton, Listen Here features many of his common conspirators, such as his pianist son Gerald, saxophonist Rickey Woodard and guitarist Graham Dechter.
Ryan, who processes an astonishing contralto voice, thrives in any context. Ryan's voice is also flexible and it's the more hushed and nuanced tracks that stand out. Abbey Lincoln's ballad "Throw It Away" is a highlight, and the piano trio arrangement gives it a light, floating feel. "Anytime, Any Day, Anywhere" and "How Little We Know," both easy swingers, are throwback charts out of the '40s. Gerald Clayton's introspective playing and ringing voicings are especially gorgeous.
- Dan Bilawsky, ALL ABOUT JAZZ