by Russell Trunk
|Title – Sky Blossom: Songs From My Tour of Duty
Artist – Alexis Cole
For those not in the know, award-winning jazz vocalist Alexis Cole may be the most talented singer to ever hold a top-secret military clearance.
A dozen albums into her critically acclaimed career, she may also be the best-kept secret in jazz, a status that’s certain to change as more people are discovering her for themselves.
Releasing a string of well-received albums, including four titles for Venus, two for Motema, and two on Chesky Records, Alexis Cole jumps into her debut release Sky Blossom: Songs From My Tour Of Duty (out November 5th, 2021) with ZOHO performing swinging big band classics from her time as the vocalist for the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights.
Included on this masterpiece are songs by the Gershwins, Lennon/McCartney, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, A.C. Jobim, Billy Joel and others.
Indeed, the new album title Sky Blossom is actually a military term for an opening parachute and is a nod to Cole’s military service and her credo of jumping into the unknown with faith.
1. JOY SPRING (5:18)
2. PURE IMAGINATION (6:30)
3. HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON (5:11)
4. ALL BLUES (7:58)
5. ESTATE (7:19)
6. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (5:25)
7. TRISTE (6:33)
8. HOW I WISH (6:53)
9. SOCIAL CALL (3:27)
10. NEW YORK STATE OF MIND (4:08)
11. OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY (4:56)
12. AMERICAN ANTHEM (4:55)
This most joyful of musical experiences opens on the perfectly titled, upbeat and spirited JOY SPRING and the lush hipsway of PURE IMAGINATION, backing those up seamlessly with the ornate gossamer of HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON, the gently frenetic ALL BLUES (complete with an incredible trumpet interlude), the organically beautiful ESTATE and then we get the lonesome yearn of the Beatles’ ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
Up next is the free-flowing majesty of the trumpet-led TRISTE and the amorous dancefloor twirl of HOW I WISH, which are in turn followed by the perky, finger-snapping, late night jazz club exuberance of SOCIAL CALL, an upbeat and justifiably precocious rendition of Billy Joel’s NEW YORK STATE OF MIND, the album rounding out on the foot-tapping, piano and trumpet-imbibed OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY, closing on the ornate musings of AMERICAN ANTHEM.
On the education front, Alexis Cole recently founded the website JazzVoice.com, an online educational community featuring singing classes, professional development workshops and private lessons with some of the top names in vocal jazz.
She is in her 7th year as the director of the vocal program at the renowned conservatory at SUNY Purchase, and is a Jamey Aebersold-sponsored clinician.
Alexis Cole’s freshly reclaimed civilian status has opened a new world where her profound experience can meld more completely with her worldview and personal expression.
As the noted jazz journalist Scott Yanow points out, “Alexis Cole grows in power, maturity, and depth each year. She continues to have unlimited potential.”
Whether you’re a long-time jazz fan or a newcomer to the art form, you won’t want to miss a single note from this icon in-the-making.
Alexis Cole – vocals (tracks 2–7, 9-11)
Conductor: Jeff Jarvis
Ryan DeWesse, Cade Gotthardt, Evan Hamada, Andrew Solares – trumpets
Phineas Crisp, Ken Eernisse, Anna Menotti, Bobby Burton – trombones
Stephen Wood, Erik Larsen, Nathan King – solo (11), Tanner Olivas, Chris Cockrill – saxophones
Alex Flavell – piano
Max Myrick – bass
Tyler Kreutel – drums
Brandon Johnson – guitar
Pablo Muñoz – Snyder – vibes
Nick Mancini – vibes
Jeff Haynes – percussion