• Jonathan Widran

JELENA JOVOVIC, Heartbeat

Ideally, an artist’s debut album should offer some autobiographical details through song that tells us who they are, where they come from and why they’re sharing their souls with us.

Rarely has an emerging jazz vocalist done this as effectively as Serbian born Jelena Jovovic, who exposes a multi-faceted musical soul with an artful blend of her passion for American jazz (including a spirited, otherworldly scatting ability) and thoughtful yet playful nods to the folk traditions of her region and Balkan rhythms.

On a slate of engaging, rhythmically eclectic originals and fresh spins through Wayne Shorter’s moody, haunting “Witch Hunt” (featuring lyrics by Jovovic) and Don Grolnick’s exotic Steps Ahead tune “Pools,” the singer blends fiery energy and exquisite intimacy centered in odes to her daughter Sara and her love for “Sweet Music.”

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