Kayle Brecher: Kayleidoscope
Vocalist, composer, and stylist Kayle Brecher has long been a part of the jazz fabric. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Temple University with a double major in performance and composition/arranging, Brecher has long been a member of the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop in New York City. Her private studies include tutelage by Jim McNeely and Michael Abene.
Brecher is a published composer with three original compositions, two of her versions of Freddie Hubbard tunes published by Freddie Hubbard’s publishing company Hubtones, and two of her versions of Herbie Hancock tunes published by Hancock Music. Brecher’s penchant for writing has also garnered several awards in the Billboard Song Contest’s jazz category, including one major prize.
Brecher’s latest endeavor Kayleidoscope is her eighth album, and once again delves into the explorative nature of Brecher’s deliciously inventive ear. The collection features a cavalcade of crack musicians that makes a tasty additive to convey Brecher’s writing.
“My Favorite Things” opens with a quote from “Stolen Moments” played by John Valerio on the piano. Brecher enters with the melody as Valerio and the rhythm section continue the figure. Brecher’s phrasing and variations of the tune are fresh and entertaining. The various time signatures add to the arrangements. The band settles into a relaxed medium swing as Brecher continues to explore variations of the melody. Drummer, Grant MacAvoy and bassist Darryl Hall lay down an excellent feel. Valerio’s solo is melody-focused as he keeps the chordal motif throughout his solo, focusing more on chordal colors than single note passages. Brecher’s interpretation of the melody is the highlight of this arrangement. She sings with conviction and control as she takes us on variations of this well-known melody.
Set to a straight-eight jazz-funk feel, “Fruits of the Spirit” shows a different side of Brecher’s singing. Hall’s basslines are colored by Frank Butrey‘s percussive guitar part and MacAvoy’s in-the-pocket set. Brecher’s melody line is doubled by pianist Michael Louis Frank. Her intonation is controlled and the two blend to create a beautiful color. Frank’s piano solo is melodic, but he still builds energy through his singles throughout the chord progression. Butrey’s guitar solo is soulful with a pleasant hollow-body guitar sound, run through an amp for a warm, but percussive sound. Brecher’s scatting is creative and sits in the pocket nicely. Brecher is a versatile and talented vocalist.
Brecher never disappoints, her writing and approach to conveying lyrics are, as per usual, sublime; it is easy to hear her kinship with Sheila Jordan ingrained in the textualization of her ideas. Like life, her music is reflective of existence, filled with emotion, joy, different moods with a joyful focus of improvisation the key and core spirit of jazz in each performance.
My Favorite Things; Glad Bag; Fruits of the Spirit; She; Something About You; Shattered; Wonders Unfold; An Elegant Tale; The Gentle Rain; Sea of Dolphins; I Remember It Well.
Kayle Brecher: voice / vocals.
Miriam Suzzette Ortiz: vocal harmony, track 5; Frank Butrey: electric guitar, tracks 2, 3, 8 acoustic guitar – tracks 4, 9; Dr. John Valerio: piano, tracks 1, 10; Michael Louis Frank: piano, tracks 3, 4; David Dzubinski: piano, track 7; Miriam Suzzette Ortiz: piano, track 5; Ratzo Harris: acoustic bass. tracks 2, 5, 6, 8; Darryl Hall: acoustic bass, tracks 1, 3; Andy Lalasis: acoustic bass, track 7; Jim Stager: acoustic bass, track 10; Doc Gibbs: percussion, track 9; Joe Ruscitto: percussion, track 4; Juan Castellanos: percussion, track 5; Erik Johnson: drums. tracks 2, 8, 10; Grant MacAvoy: drums, tracks 1, 3, 7.
Title: Kayleidoscope | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Penchant Four Music