IN A BLUE MOOD
by Ron Weinstock
Melbreeze I Love Paris
Melbreeze – “I Love Paris” – Blue Canoe Records
Born in Turkey but now residing in Los Angeles, vocalist Melbreeze has collaborated with Bill Cunliffe Big Band, Jimmy Haslip, and Alan Pasqua. She has also collaborated with Scott Kinsey for several years, including two recent albums. “I Love Paris” is the first co-produced album between the two, with Kinsey handling the keyboards and Trilian bass. Other notable persons playing on this set included Tim Hagans on trumpet, guitarists Yotam Silverstein, Josh Smith and Pedro Martins, Doug Webb on tenor sax, and Gary Novak on drums.
Melbreeze sings in a sultry, evocative manner, half-spoken at times and at other times sung with a soft purr, like a cottony Eartha Kitt. Kinsey has surrounded her usually with atmospheric settings that suggest some of these performances would fit in on a film noir. An unusual halting rhythm and Hagans’ haunting trumpet provide the ambiance for “Autumn Leaves.” It is an introduction to an unusual repertoire of mostly standards. Brad Dutz’s marimba and percussion, along with Hagans’ electrified muted trumpet, lend a distinctive tone to her sorrowful singing on “I Fall in Love Too Easily.” There is a unique arrangement to her elucidation of Oscar Brown’s lyrics to Bobby Timmons’ “Dat Dere.”
With train sounds in the opening, there is a touch of nostalgia in her rendition of “Sentimental Journey” with Webb’s tenor sax solo. Her vocal includes a mash-up with a Turkish children’s game song. On “Don’t Explain,” her restrained speak-song vocal is framed by Dutz’s percussion with Silverstein’s nuanced guitar solo. She engages in some storytelling on the title track, which is followed by a smokey rendition of “My Funny Valentine” with Josh Smith’s blues-inflected guitar solo. Then there is the Joey Heatherton-like flirty sexiness of the performance of “What Lola Wants,” with Hagans’ trumpet adding musical color.
Melbreeze has produced an entertaining and intriguing recording with considerable charm.