by Tom Haugen
Sky Blossom: Songs From My Tour Of Duty
A long running jazz vocalist who spent many years as a singer in the army, these days Alexis Cole is spending her civilian life immersed in her craft, and here she interprets a dozen standards with a large handful of musicians on hand for the adventurous jazz listen.
“Joy Spring” gets the album off to a bright start with booming brass, agile drumming from Scott Drewes and intricate guitar from Mark Tonelli as Cole’s impressive vocal scatting draws us in, and “Pure Imagination” follows with much beauty as soulful sax and strategic percussion thanks to Jeff Haynes complements Cole’s versatile singing.
Further down the line, “Estate” enters calmer areas where Max Myrick’s precise bass and Brandon Johnson’s intimate guitar add much to the emotive climate, while “Across The Universe” puts a very dreamy spin on the classic, as Tyler Kreutel’s restrained drumming and Cole’s absorbing pipes work well together. “How I Wish”, a Thelonious Monk tune, then displays Scott Arcangel’s proficient piano and dynamic brass in a very meticulous album highlight.
“Our Love Is Here To Stay” lands near the end and recruits plenty of rhythm amid the timeless jazz energy, and “American Anthem” exits with Jaehun Kang’s gorgeous piano playing accompanying Cole’s poetic delivery as much sublimeness wraps up the listen.
Cole’s song selections spans some of the greats, including Billy Joel, Miles Davis and A.C. Jobim, to name a few, and her impeccable delivery and diverse range make for a listen that can swing with the best, because, well, she is one of the best.
Travels well with: Lyn Stanley– Lyn Stanley’s Favorite Takes: London With A Twist Live At Bernie’s; Diana Panton– A Cheerful Little Earful