Such Austin pop/R&B gems as "Baby Come to Me" may find their way onto smooth jazz radio, but at her core, Austin has often exhibited the heart of a jazz singer—and that's what's on display

Such Austin pop/R&B gems as "Baby Come to Me" may find their way onto smooth jazz radio, but at her core, Austin has often exhibited the heart of a jazz singer—and that's what's on display here. Recorded in Germany alongside the WDR Big Band, Austin not only takes on the formidable task of performing songs associated with Ella Fitzgerald, but she also went through the arduous process of re-creating the late singer's complex vocal improvisations on renditions of "Mr. Paganini" and "How High the Moon." The result is electric, as Austin soars through material that she has yearned to sing for years. True, you could pick up Fitzgerald's original recordings and hear these songs done by the master, but in this case, the apprentice turns in as convincing and dynamic a performance as one could hope for.—SG