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Review: Emily Estefan ably steps out of her parents' shadow

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/31/2017 By MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer
This cover image released by Alien Shrimp Records shows "Take Whatever You Want," the debut album for Emily Estefan. (Alien Shrimp Records via AP) © The Associated Press This cover image released by Alien Shrimp Records shows "Take Whatever You Want," the debut album for Emily Estefan. (Alien Shrimp Records via AP)

Emily Estefan, "Take Whatever You Want" (Alien Shrimp Records)

She arrives with a last name beloved in the music world and dangerously treads in the same footsteps as her parents, who have 26 Grammy Awards combined. And yet Emily Estefan manages to make an impressive splash on her debut album.

The 22-year-old daughter of pop superstar Gloria and Emilio Estefan's "Take Whatever You Want" is a 14-song shimmering, jazz-influenced beauty she wrote, performed on and produced.

It's not what you might initially expect from the offspring of a couple that gave us infectious pop like "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" and "Conga." The younger Estefan combines the slinky soulfulness of Erykah Badu, the righteousness of Lorde and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman. It's sometimes a little self-indulgent, but Estefan never wears out her welcome.

The album veers from the doo-wop of "It's OK" to girl-power anthems like "Reigns (Every Night)" to the laid-back soul of "Dream Catcher." The tone whipsaws from vulnerable to rebellious to forceful, with Estefan not afraid to use profanity or unleash her powerful vibrato.

In the album's liner notes, the graduate of the Berklee College of Music thanks her parents "who have always waited up at 3 a.m. to hear these songs." But her music charts a fiercely independent course. "Burn my number, lose my name," she sings in one tune. "I ain't one to follow fame."

Our advice: Don't forget this name, as if you could.

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Mark Kennedy is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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