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Our critics' picks in new releases

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A resident of Minneapolis, Evingson is a conventional jazz singer, but her inspired Lennon-McCartney tribute is anything but. The arrangements, ranging from burnished rock-lite to searing samba, bristle with uncommon imagination.

"Blackbird," a favorite of many improvisers lately, zips along courtesy of electric sitar and a fresh Indo-inspired intro. Ms. E then ups the ante, stripping away the tune's familiar harmony and substituting the ethereal modality of Miles Davis' "All Blues." A crow no more, the new "Blackbird" struts like a peacock.

Avoiding the obvious choices--imagine: no "Yesterday"--Evingson revisits 14 numbers from seven different Beatles albums, including divergent takes of "When I'm 64" from Sgt. Pepper's. (Take 1 is a tango; 2 is quasi-Klezmer.) The sessions must have been a ball, because you can literally hear a giggle in the grooves.

How's that for a switch? Jazz that smiles.

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