"No Easy Way" is a noteworthy release by Chicago jazz singer/songwriter Jean Laughlin, who is known for her broad vocal abilities and incredibly personal style. The writing is skillful and intelligent with fresh, clever arrangements. She is backed by an incredible orchestra of talented musicians featuring brilliant soloists and swinging horn sections. The rhythm section is fabulous, setting up and emphasizing the ensemble figures with ease while also providing wonderful support throughout. "Open" is a sincere and genuine opener with honest lyrics and Laughlin singing straight from the heart. Another heartfelt track is "Moment to Moment," which not only touches on the struggles of everyday life, but also offers inspiration. Her personality and individuality shine through on each tune, from her fun sense of humor on "Party Down" and "Lookin' at the Downside" to her warm, smoky style on the ballads "Sad Eyes," "Cast Away," and "Home ( a lullaby)." One ballad that really stands out is the touching "Friendships Broken," featuring an illustrious string arrangement and passionate vocals. Another excellent track is the lively "Simplify," with her vocals dancing atop the rhythmic figures of the horn section and Laughlin again showcasing her humorous side. This album is highly recommended for any fan of adult contemporary vocalists and/or big band music.
-Rodney and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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