Sheila Cooper is a talented singer who also plays alto, or is she actually a Lee Konitz-inspired altoist who also sings? On Tales of Love and Longing, she performs duets with veteran pianist Fritz Pauer that -- given her two talents -- seem like trios. In keeping with the CD's title, most of the music is taken at slow tempos and has lyrics dealing with some aspect of love. A happy change of pace is a medium-tempo instrumental version of "How Deep Is the Ocean?" that, after four straight slow ballads, really wakes up the CD. Other departures include Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman," Cooper's original "I Gravitate to You," and her unaccompanied alto statement on "Body and Soul." But in general this is a set of slow ballads, sung with an aching longing and very sincere feeling by a subtle singer who shows a great deal of promise.