CD Reviews: Searching for the Soul (FreeHam 2005) from Fritz the Nite Owl with Smooth Jazz WJZA 103.5FM/104.3FM, Columbus, OH

Charmaine is a contralto, singing in the lowest ranges of female vocalizing. This register adds enormous warmth, intimacy, sensuality to all of her selections and makes this one of the very best "Jazz for Slow-Dancin' Romancin' for the Wee-Hours" CDs ever recorded. "Soulful" is how one of the many callers described her when I debuted her on my show.

Her selection and interpretation of tunes is impeccable. You'll fall in love with whomever you're with as she purrs her way through "The Nearness of You," backed only by acoustic piano. You'll re-experience "love found, love lost" with Since I Fell For You," featuring easy slides into her upper ranges and a quartet setting with some smoky, sexy sax by Glen Garrett.

My highlight however is "You'll Never Know," the timeless, Oscar-winning love song sung by Alice Faye in 1943's Hello Frisco, Hello. 'Tis a pity that elegant, classy, sophisticated, memorably melodic songs like this no longer have a chance with the tineared, PC-obsessive voters who select the Oscar-winning songs of today.

by Fritz the Nite Owl, for Smooth Jazz WJZA 103.5FM/104.3FM, Columbus, OH, APRIL 01, 2006