Vocalist Hilary Gardner is a terrific singer in the tradition of Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald, with a storytelling style that’s equal parts wise, sensual and sophisticated. Gardner’s star is as bright as can be on The Great City, a sizzling debut with chill musical accompaniment (virtuosic pianist Ehud Asherie’s solos recalls Hank Jones urbane swing) that gives an aura of wonderment to her poetic collection of songs about New York. She effortlessly charms and swings on tunes like “Chelsea Morning”, but her magnetism is obvious on “Manhattan Avenue” – it’s a little black dress of a tune that fits Gardner in all the best ways. (11 tracks; 38 minutes)

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