Maud Hixson | Love's Refrain

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Easy Listening: Cabaret Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Love's Refrain

by Maud Hixson

"I think she's the new Peggy Lee; a young singer out of the Midwest. If you like cool, artful storytelling in jazz, check her out." --Amanda McBroom, singer/songwriter ("The Rose")
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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1. With A Song In My Heart Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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5:07 $0.99
2. There's Never Been A Day Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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4:56 $0.99
3. A Ghost Of A Chance Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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2:33 $0.99
4. Meet Me At No Special Place Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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3:25 $0.99
5. Bad For Each Other Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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3:41 $0.99
6. Here's That Rainy Day Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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4:30 $0.99
7. Remind Me Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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2:51 $0.99
8. Star Dust Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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3:39 $0.99
9. Lotus Blossom Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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5:02 $0.99
10. Lucky To Be Me Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, piano
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3:26 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"The finest homegrown vocal CD of 2007”
--Tom Surowicz, Minneapolis StarTribune

Jazz Police Pick of Favorite Recordings of 2007

"Maud Hixson brings to these songs the casual sophistication they call for, so that they sound like what Ira Gershwin said a lyric should be — “everyday conversation that happens to rhyme.” She brings out of them the wit and ingenuity the lyricists and composer used in handling the Tin Pan Alley formulas. She sings these great songs as their songwriters wanted. The song becomes not an occasion to display her gorgeously sultry voice but to inhabit the song and become the character the lyric portrays. As songwriters say, “She reads the lyric.” Her performance (and that of Rick Carlson) — understated, sensuous, insouciant — shows why such songs are the closest thing America has to a vital classical repertory of song."
--Philip Furia, author of The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Great Lyricists and biographies of Irving Berlin, Ira Gershwin, and Johnny Mercer

"Maud is a wonderful singer. I like her angelic, peaceful way of portraying a song. And she has excellent taste in material. I congratulate her on her stellar CD!"
--Meredith D’Ambrosio, jazz vocalist, musician, composer, and visual artist

"Love's Refrain features the singer Maud Hixson, new to me. She has a calm, restrained, sweet delivery, and her enunciation is letter-perfect. Where others of her generation ornament their performances with percussion and horns, she stays out in the open, with only Rick Carlson's empathic piano as her colleague. Her time is good, her voice pleasing. And the standards she has selected are valuable--a few surprises amid the monuments of Tin Pan Alley. I have often written snidely of singers who emoted through every song, who took their efforts at top volume, registering high numbers on a Jazz Richter scale. Hixson does neither of these things, and her CD is a pleasure to listen to."
--Michael Steinman, Cadence Magazine

"Love’s Refrain is a delectable new CD of intimate Great American Songbook duets by understated singer Maud Hixson and her chapeau-sporting hubby, the ever-eloquent Basie-loving pianist Rick Carlson. Hixson manages to be sultry yet never vampish. She grabs the listener early and often, but always in a conversational manner, always in the service of the lyric. If you’re looking for belting or scatting, go elsewhere. Carlson’s piano accompaniment is similarly devoid of flash - sensitive always, sublime often. Love’s Refrain is a timeless album..."
--Tom Surowicz, Minneapolis StarTribune

"One of the most intimate recordings imaginable, a subtle dialogue that nearly makes you feel like an intruder overhearing a private conversation."
--Andrea Canter, Jazz Police

"Just before Christmas last year, the jazz Santa brought Twin Cities listeners the finest homegrown vocal CD of 2007 -- Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson's beautiful, understated, timeless duets collection, Love's Refrain. Piano + voice + Great American Songbook = romance, with a capital L."
--Tom Surowicz, Minneapolis StarTribune

"There seems to be a disproportionate number of really good female vocalists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Well, that’s the way it looks from my vantage point, a few hundred miles away. And to my list, I’ll add Maud Hixson. Covering what we call the American Songbook is easy in one way. You know the material is good. But it was good for somebody else, too. And somebody after that, and somebody after that. Quick. Over the Rainbow. Judy Garland, right? Fly Me To The Moon. Frank. But if you choose the material carefully, your imprint can become the new one. Ms. Hixson, I think, has successfully nibbled around the edges in her choice of material. With only a piano (a lightly swinging Rick Carlson) for backup, Ms. Hixson’s voice is front and center. The choices are familiar, but not immediately so, and the mark she leaves is delicate, and crystalline, and pure. Mr. Carlson and Ms. Hixson create an intimacy, and through ten tracks, never break the spell. Cool, but never detached. Hard to get, maybe. Her voice draws you in, always closer. Closer. My favorites include Van Heusen’s Here’s That Rainy Day, along with Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust, and a rarer Harold Arlen tune, Bad For Each Other. Judging from her website, Ms. Hixson stays busy performing around her native Twin Cities area. No wonder. Good stuff? Yes. And very highly recommended. Three and one-half stars out of four."
--Doug Boynton, GirlSingers.org

“Lauded as a female Chet Baker because of her unadorned ‘cool’ approach to the standard song, Hixson brings a measure of hip sophistication to the jazz tradition. With golden-hued clarity, great diction and the fabulous accompaniment of pianist Rick Carlson, this pretty Minnesotan tackles familiar gems and rarely recorded pieces such as Billy Strayhorn’s Lotus Blossom and J. Russell Robinson’s Meet Me at No Special Place. One would hope that Love’s Refrain and her earlier release, Small Batch, will propel her out of the prairies into greater orbits or renown."
--John Stevenson, EJazzNews.com

"The folks in Minnesota also have a singer who will raise the eyebrows of admiration of anyone lucky enough to hear her. Maud Hixson had escaped my radar until Love’s Refrain arrived in the mail. Accompanied by the piano of Rick Carlson, Hixson performs a program of ten wonderful songs. She mixes standards such as With a Song in My Heart, A Ghost of a Chance, Here’s That Rainy Day, Remind Me, Stardust and Lucky to Be Me with some tunes that do not turn up on many collections like Bob Dorough’s There’s Never Been a Day, the hip Meet Me at No Special Place, popularized by Nat Cole, a rarity from Harold Arlen and Carolyn Leigh, Bad for Each Other, and Billy Strayhorn’s Lotus Blossom, with a lovely lyric by Roger Schore and Carol Sloane. Hixson has a crystal clear instrument that caresses each lyric with sensitivity and understanding. Carlson’s piano sets each of Hixson’s vocals beautifully. This is one of those albums that you simply cannot hear enough."
--Joseph Lang, Jersey Jazz

"I love her version of Lotus Blossom. She has a lovely voice, one that seems to snuggle up beside a listener as it insinuates itself into the heart of a song. In that regard, she reminds me of the late and much missed singer, Nancy Lamott. Rick Carlson's accompaniments are beautifully understated (he's not a busy pianist) and seem perfectly 'right.' They're a remarkable team."
--Roger Schore, lyricist, “Lotus Blossom”

"I remembered driving home from a gig and hearing a track from Maud Hixson's new disc Love's Refrain, featuring just her with Rick Carlson at the piano. I would give that disc to anyone and everyone. I got goose bumps as I was listening on the way home that night. Everything about it is so absolutely right on, it's amazing! The piano is perfect and beautifully recorded. The piano playing is classic Rick Carlson: swinging and casual, understated and perfect. Maud sounds relaxed and has such command of her art. Her intonation and phrasing are immaculate. It's in the groove and polished, totally first class."
--Gordy Johnson, bassist


Reviews


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Ed Goodstein

Terrific, accomplished singer
I can only echo the other reviews. Hixson has a wonderful voice nicely balanced between classical pop and jazz,
with also fine 'legit' edges. If most of the songs here are familiar standards, she has a distinctive way with them
and great phrasing, attention to lyric, and lets the songs speak for themselves too.
I also recommend her other albums, including one with another fine singer, Arne Fogel; and the two additional songs available at CD Baby, which are a little jazzier, & the first album, 'Small Batch' too. A great vocal discovery.

A Minnesota listener

A Gem....
“Love’s Refrain” is an absolute gem. Ms. Hixson’s style has been praised for it’s simplicity, but that is misleading: Her interpretations are suffused with nuance, color, drama, and a sensibility so uniquely attuned to the lyrical intent of the songs she chooses to perform, that the listener often comes away with the sense that, no matter how familiar, the songs are truly being heard for the first time. Unlike many other young “jazz singers”, Ms. Hixson has spent a lifetime studying, absorbing and internalizing this music, and it shows in every performance. Mr. Carlson’s piano accompaniments are tasteful, imaginative, unobtrusive, and lightly rhythmical. Standout tracks are “Star Dust”, “Lotus Blossom”, “With A Song In My Heart”, and “Remind Me”.
Ms. Hixson has a brilliant career ahead of her.

John Walton


The old song stylists understood fully the concept of 'the art that conceals art' whereas too many current singers put style before substance. Not so Maud Hixson. Her intonation, vocal timbre and interpretation are sublime, but she never intervenes between songwriter and audience. It only gradually dawns on us what a great singer she is!

Graham Wellard

A great new find
Maud Hixson is a delightful new find for me - she has a wonderful style which immediately communicates a song's message, a cool clear vocal timbre, and great taste. This ability to make a lyric come alive while maintaining a subtle rhythmic pulse is a VERY rare gift these days.

The song selection here is absolutely great, full of classic songs, and she delivers them all with great insight and heart. She is joined by superb pianist Rick Carlson, who swings along with her all the way. I love it!