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|Audio CD, CD, 21 Apr 2007||
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Honolulu-born singer-songwriter Anjani's story is the stuff of great fiction. After playing the New York jazz club circuit for years, she was introduced to celebrated Canadian poet, author, and songwriter Leonard Cohen. Immediately drawn to her talents, he brought her onboard as a keyboardist and vocalist, where she provided some background work on a number of his CDs. After finding a few lines of Cohen's handwritten lyrics lying on his desk one day (specifically "there's perfume burning in the air/bits of beauty everywhere"), Anjani was not just drawn to them, the words inspired her to write a song in their honor ("Blue Alert"). After hearing the result, the Order of Canada-winning poet was so impressed that he eventually allowed her the chance to cull through both his published and unpublished works for additional lyrics.
The result is the album Blue Alert, a collection of gentle music tinged with styles ranging from Holly Cole to Tanita Tikaram, with an overriding sense of cool jazz throughout. Listening to "No One After You" sends the listener straight into a '60s beatnik club, while "Half the Perfect World" incites a bossa nova feel. There are light Irish stylings sprinkled in the music as well, from the evocative lilt of "The Mist" to her mournful performance on "Crazy to Love You." Co-producer Cohen's rhythm and pacing is all over the disc, with Anjani's semi-whispered drawl making the songs sound eerily Leonard-like. Fans of the legendary Canadian writer will likely be charmed by these minimalist numbers, and enjoy this new extension of his artistic reach. --Denise Sheppard