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As jazz standards get done to death by singers with lots of respect but little imagination, the more adventurous types are casting their nets farther out for sources. But insofar as jazz is about interpretation as well as composition, many tunes from the worlds of folk, pop, and rock are well suited to a versatile singer. Chicago vocalist Joanie Pallato is known for her adventurousness; she’s performed with Brazilian, string, and vocal ensembles—she’s even sung jingles. On Two, her live, in-studio recording with pianist Marshall Vente, Pallato expresses her range in the narrow vocal-and-piano context, venturing from eyebrow-raising pop covers to the most stalwart classics, all with surprising results. The idiosyncratic choices here aren’t stunts: The Doors’ “Light My Fire” emerges as marvelously adaptable under Pallato’s kind, slightly detached vocals; her generous treatment of the song’s indistinct melodic line is reminiscent of Tori Amos’ splendid reworking of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which played with that tune’s lyrical ambiguity. Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” warrants a quiet, anthemic treatment, building and ebbing like a strong tide. Most of Vente’s arrangements are simple but resourceful, and Pallato doesn’t shower on the sparkles when she can just sing sweetly and strongly. Ira Gershwin’s “My Ship” gets right to the point, and “My Baby Just Cares for Me” is more contemplative than sturdy razzle-dazzle, as it is usually rendered. On the practically uncoverable “As Time Goes By,” Pallato’s singing is moodily enervated—a fitting choice for such a hoary chestnut, although she does engage in some dreamy scatting at the break. And “Morning of the Carnival,” the eerie love theme from Black Orpheus, is tender and mournful, free from lyrical bathos or ironic calliope passages. But Pallato can swing hard when she wants to, as on “Stolen Moments” and her own “Nothin’ Happened.” There’s no filigree or foolishness on Two; it’s a modest celebration of the music-making process, stripped to its lovely, symmetrical bones.—Arion Berger