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Former radio DJ Maria Jacobs soars with mesmerizing vocals on new CD

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It's common to hear that many DJs actually are, deep down, frustrated musicians; it's a theory which has survived generations. Its origin is simple: A number of people feel that the fiery passion that DJs have for music could have only emanated from an unrequited desire to create it themselves.

Whether or not jazz vocalist Maria Jacobs strengthens that stereotype will be a matter of perspective. Her career did begin in broadcasting, starting as a research assistant at WCPN 90.3 FM in Cleveland, Ohio before taking to the microphone herself. However, with her new album Chasing Dreams, Jacobs has now established herself as a top-drawer singer, one who is as talented and emotionally stirring as the artists whose records she used to spin over the airwaves.

There's no doubt that Jacobs was born to be a vocalist. The radio jobs may have paid the bills, and the nighttime caress of her voice probably made her traffic reports irresistibly listenable, but her singing has the crystalline beauty and bluesy power of the old jazz greats. Jacobs' smoky delivery on “Yeh Yeh" is utterly hypnotic; even the gentle melodies of the piano seem to be smitten by the sultriness of her vocals. “Just Squeeze Me" reveals Jacobs' range, opting for a flirtatious, upbeat tone that is downright addictive. She saves the best for last with “Pour Me a Cup of Yesterday," in which her lovely croon makes this acoustic lullaby soar.

The title of the album is certainly appropriate. Most DJs do not chase their dreams of becoming musicians—yes, the theory is indeed true—yet Jacobs did. And all of us are better for it.

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