Barbara Morrison, "Live at the Dakota" (Dakota Live), released 2005
Morrison's vocals superbly direct traffic to all the intersections between jazz, blues and soul music. Add in the dulcet sonority of tenor saxophonist Houston Person and the delectable blues of pianist Junior Mance and you get an instant classic.
Terell Stafford, "Taking Chances" (MaxJazz), released 2007
Stafford's pleasantly buffered tone on the trumpet is always freighted with sharp insight. Four of the five members of his superb band contribute an original song to go with the standard "Old Folks" and the spiritual "Jesus Loves Me."
Mark Murphy, "Latin Porter" (Go Jazz), released 2000
The irrepressibly hip bop vocalist Murphy takes on Cole Porter with a Latin twist, helped out by then-locals Estaire Godinez and Peter Schimke and with a ringer in special guest trumpeter Tom Harrell. This is familiar material given a glorious makeover.
Nachito Herrera, "Live at the Dakota 2" (Dakota Live), released 2006
After playing with a big band on his first Dakota CD, Herrera opts for a smaller ensemble and a more jazz-oriented program, including a couple of Wayne Shorter covers. But the pianist still delivers plenty of his trademark crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics and Afro-Cuban flourishes.
Debbie Duncan, "Live at the Dakota" (Igmod), released 1993
The first-ever live recording from the Dakota showcases Duncan's engaging blend of warmth, sass and soul, with a lot of patter between songs and a nifty collection of top locals including drummer Phil Hey, bassist Gary Raynor and guest sax Dave Karr.