Ashley Locheed & Chris Rottmayer
So in Love (Timucua Arts Foundation)
Released – 4 September 2020
Imagine for a moment that you find a box sealed up and put on a high shelf nine years ago. You take it down and can’t quite remember what it contained. The writing on the box looks familiar, but…
Haven’t we all been there at one time or another? Now imagine that when you open the box, you find a pleasant surprise. Not precisely a million-dollar appraisal at “Antiques Roadshow,” but something you’d forgotten about – something bright and shiny, good as new.
That’s the story that’s in my head about the release of “So In Love,” with credits shared by pianist Chris Rottmayer and vocals from Ashley Locheed (LOCK-heed.)
Recorded in 2011, Ms. Locheed delivers an intimate performance, backed by Mr. Rottmayer, Chuck Archard on electric bass, and the late Keith Wilson on drums. Mr. Wilson passed in 2014, and the album gets a dedication to his memory.
I’m usually a fan of the vocalist alone, but in this case, the backing group isn’t there to frame the singer, but rather, they all compliment each other. The man who recorded and mixed the set is Benoit Glazer (He is a conductor, arranger, trumpet player, and multi-instrumentalist who was teaching at McGill University at 21 years of age and did so for nine years.) These are his words – “Every note, every nuance is absolutely and completely tastefully done, and even in solos, one never gets the feeling that anybody had a need to assert or force their idea through the group.”
Ms. Locheed does have a day job – she’s in the backing group for pop star Michael Bolton, and her resume includes past work with old crooner Engelbert Humperdinck. She’s best with the ballads – the group’s take on Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” offers a whole new melancholy perspective and the best showcase for Ms. Locheed’s supple voice.
Mr. Rottmayer teaches at the University of South Florida and the University of Wisconsin/Madison. He’s also got more than 20 years of experience as a Disney World musician at Orlando. Mr. Glazer is the co-founder of the Timucua Arts Foundation in 2000 with his wife and is “at the forefront of chamber arts in Florida.” The foundation released this gem.
One wonders if there are other bright and shiny things lurking on the shelf, waiting for willing ears. Highly recommended.