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Having begun practicing piano at age five, Jackie Warren plays nearly as naturally as she breathes. Her abilities are as much a reflection of instinct as intellect, and because of this, her lyrical jazz is palatable to pointy heads and plebes alike.

Near You is Warren's first album after a decade and a half of making the rounds at Nighttown and with the Afro-Cleveland Orchestra. The disc spans styles and years with a knowing wink; she parses the works of Leonard Bernstein and Thelonius Monk with a playful grace that renders the tunes in a way that's both nuanced and immediate. From a frantic reading of Miles Davis's "Nardis," an album highlight, to the sentimental original "Liquid Moon," Warren's premier recording establishes her as Cleveland's first lady of jazz.

Speaking of Regional Beat

More by Jason Bracelin

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