MUSIC: SIMPLY NATURAL

Carla Cook

She isn't a dewy blond or a postadolescent waif, so Carla Cook would seem to be facing a rocky path across the current jazz terrain. But she can sing--really sing. Situating her gospel-tinted voice in a propulsive rhythmic groove, she proceeds to bend the blues, rehabilitate some standards (by Simon and Garfunkel as well as by Duke Ellington) and scamper through a couple of her own intriguing compositions. Simply Natural may fall an inch short of her spectacular last CD, Dem Bones, but that's no insult. Cook can cook. --By Daniel Okrent

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