Kristin Callahan – Lost In A Dream
Her first two albums were more traditional but, for Lost in a Dream, she teams up with arranger and bassist Eliot Seppa who describes Kristin’s passion about featuring each instrumentalist “which tastefully allows the arrangements to breathe and never distracts from the deep, often poignant lyrics of these classic songs.” The collaboration between Kristin and Seppa is remarkable. The influence they exert upon each other is evident and inspiring.
With Kristin on vocals and Seppa on bass are Matvei Sigolov on guitar, Tom Teasley on percussion, Mark Prince on drums, Carroll Dashiell III on drums, Lee Pearson on drums and conga, Joe Herrera on trumpet and Matt Rippetoe on saxophone.
The song selection is almost flawless, opening with Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life. It is a brilliant start, beautifully arranged by Eliot Seppa, as are five of the eight tracks on the album. Of course, anything by Strayhorn is a sure bet and a great opening to any musical endeavor.
Thelonious Mink’s Round Midnight is marvelously rendered with Kristin’s soulful vocals. Joe Herrera’s trumpet is brilliant. That is immediately followed by the Romberg and Hammerstein classic Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise with Herrera returning on trumpet and Matt Rippetoe offering up some excellent sax work. Teasley and Pearson on percussion is engaging and oh-so-hot. But it is Kristin’s vocals that steal the show.
Lost in a Dream is Kristin lone original that features Sigalov’s sweet acoustic guitar. Mark Prince is restrained on the drums, allowing the vocals and lyrics to take the spotlight. In fact, that defines the whole album. Brilliant instrumental artists and the arrangements by Seppa all contribute to let the focus fall on Kristin and her vocal artistry.
Then comes Ellington’s Caravan. Seppa’s interpretive bass opens for the horn of Herrera. Lee Pearson on drums and conga lock in with Seppa and provide dramatic and fascinating backing to Kristin’s languid vocals. Sigalov jumps in with a majestic and surprising Near Eastern guitar lick before Herrera takes a cool solo. Everybody loves Caravan but this is something unique and wonderful.
Johnny Mandel’s The Shadow of Your Smile is warm and luscious. Sigalov’s acoustic guitar and the bass of Seppa, alongside Dashiell’s drums are remarkable. And you just have to love Kristin’s tone and texture, those sultry intonations… A splendid track.
The album closes with Jobim and Gilberto’s Once I Loved. Those first tones from Sigalov’s guitar are perfect. Sigalov was the arranger and the effect is brilliant. The guitar and the vocals are sweetly haunting and memorable. This is the way to end an album.
Lost in a Dream is a stunningly beautiful, moving, and satisfying album. Kristin Callahan is an extraordinary interpreter and performer of these exquisite pieces of music. The arrangements are wonderful, the musicians are precise and poetic, but Kristin herself is the reason we came.