There's nothing new about Linda Ronstadt strolling through the Great American Songbook. She established a respectable post-rock career with her three 1980s big-band albums arranged with Sinatra-esque

There's nothing new about Linda Ronstadt strolling through the Great American Songbook. She established a respectable post-rock career with her three 1980s big-band albums arranged with Sinatra-esque swing by Nelson Riddle. The excellent "Hummin' to Myself," Ronstadt's debut for Verve, is sparsely arranged, the small-combo accompaniment at times accented by concise, effective jazz solos: Roy Hargrove's flugelhorn on Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne's "I Fall in Love Too Easily" earns its spotlight. Though Ronstadt brilliantly raises the roof a few times on Frank Loesser's "Never Will I Marry" and Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town," the mood is mostly introspective and subtle: a guileless reading of "Cry Me a River" and a sloe-eyed "Miss Otis Regrets" are saloon songs for a sober era, the music itself offering comfort and consolation.—WR

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