BEBOP SPOKEN HERE
Aimee Allen (vocals); Francois Moutin (bass); Billy Test (piano, except track 10);
Kush Abadey (drums, except tracks 7, 9, 10, 11)
(Review by Ann Alex)
I knew I’d reviewed a CD from this fine singer before, as I remembered her biographical details. Ms Allen hails from Pittsburgh growing up in a musical household with a singing mother, guitarist brother, as well as playing flute and piano herself. After hearing all the classic jazz singers on the radio, she later sang in choirs and also professionally in duos.
A member of the New York jazz community since 2002, recording her debut release in 2006, this, her fifth CD comprises 6 standards and 5 original songs.
One of the basic themes of the songs concerns how winged creatures deal with the natural world, so we have Skylark, with a bass solo which sounds like the flight of a bird; and the original Night Owl with cymbals to indicate night time. The other originals are Shooting Star, with a piano solo which to my ears sounded a bit like a star might sound; In My Web, all about catching a lover in a web; and Touch The Sun. Democracy How (Harmony And Dissonance) is the most interesting of the originals, as it is a very direct protest song, a plea for truth and democracy to prevail, ‘they tell me one and one is not two, the death of truth’. The opening of this track is suitably dissonant and deliberately jarring.
I much preferred the standard songs, but that may be because original material takes time to get used to. It’s impossible to say which songs will be standards of the future. Besides Skylark we have Invitation; Jobim’s Fotografia, sung in Portuguese (I think) then in English; Save Your Love For Me, a swinging song of unrequited love; Autumn Leaves, sung in both French and English; and Lionel Hampton’s Midnight Sun. I noted that this singer is not afraid to do without drums on some tracks, as shown by the musicians listed above, and there were bass solos on nearly every track, which was unusual and very pleasing. In fact, the musicians were well up to the mark.
The CD was issued on September 10, on the Azuline Music label, and it is available from the usual retailers. See www.aimeeallenmusic.com.