Nikki (Deluxe Version)

Nikki (Deluxe Version)

Cutting an album that sounds this professional at the age of 16 could go both ways. Should the young performer exude overzealous precociousness, they can come off like a high-school theater pariah. But taking a lite-rock approach to a brassy jazz-pop number like the opening "Take the ‘A’ Train" is a wiser choice, as Nikki Yanofsky illustrates on her debut album. Even when she dabbles in the enthusiastic style of a former Mouseketeer (scat-singing on a zippy rendition of Gershwin's "I've Got Rhythm," for example) Yanofsky somehow comes off as endearing. And even when mashing "On the Sunny Side of the Street" straight into Led Zeppelin's "Fool In the Rain," the end result is a guilty pleasure. Though by her soulful take on Feist's "Try Try Try" it's easy to find yourself in Yanofsky's rooting section, pining for more flavors like this. As an added bonus, Ron Sexsmith is all over this album, guiding her into rootsy realms like "Cool My Heels," a song that sounds like the offspring of Jackie DeShannon's "Put a Little Love In Your Heart."

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