The Sentinel reviews Melbreeze – I Love Paris

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Travis Rogers, Jr.

Melbreeze – I Love Paris

In her latest release, I Love Paris, Turkish-born vocalist Melbreeze continues her collaboration with Scott Kinsey which began almost a decade ago. She and Kinsey co-produced I Love Paris and he contributes his inimitable skills and talents on the keyboards in every song on the album.

Coming off nine previous releases (albums and EPs) of great acclaim, I Love Paris shows off all her incredible talents through her vocal talents and her charm and wit. What this creates is one extraordinarily fascinating, entertaining, and enjoyable album. Her choices of songs are brilliantly interpreted through that humor and warmth.

In addition to Scott Kinsey, Melbreeze is joined by several topflight artists including Gary Novak on drums, Tim Hagans on trumpet, and several more. Together they add their artisytry to that of Melbreeze and Kinsey with a spectacular result.

She opens the album with her own warm vocalizations and a cool muted trumpet by Tim Hagans. Kinsey, Gergö Borlai (drums) and Brad Dutz are the formidable rhythm section in this nothing-less-than-sultry treatment of the Joseph Kosma and Johnny Mercer standard. An excellent introduction to all that follows.

Jule Styne and Sammy Chan’s I Fall in Love Too Easily continues with the same line-up and it is exquisite. The Bossa treatment is just what the doctor ordered. Melbreeze has an incredible instinct for those every-so-slight adjustments that make you catch your breath.

Bobby Timmons’ Dat Dere follows. Originally recorded by Timmors for his debut album This Here is Bobby Timmons in 1960 and, two months later, by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Those were instrumental versions. Oscar Brown, Jr. added his own lyrics for his album Sin & Soul. As cool as Brown’s lyrics and vocals were, Melbreeze adds her own vocalizations (not strictly scat) that kick this song into a whole ‘nother realm. The Gary Novak/Brad Dutz rhythms with Kinsey on the Trillian bass make for howling good fun.

Sentimental Journey (Les Brown, Ben Horner & Bud Green) starts off with the sound of freight train, the means of transportation for this journey. Doug Webb adds a fine tenor sax with Tim Hagans’ trumpet. Melbreeze’s emotional without being maudlin vocals are a treat.

Her alto voice is sultry in each and every genre she takes on. She can entice even when she is making you smile or chuckle. But then comes Billie Holiday’s Don’t Explain. She still manages the fragility of Holiday’s voice without being a simple copy. Yotam Silberstein adds a phenomenal guitar that enhances the whole piece.

The title song, Cole Porter’s I Love Paris, is worth the price of admission. It is an upbeat, bouncy rendition that features a trimmed down trio of Kinsey, Novak, and Lefebvre (bass). Melbreeze moves from sassy and cute to a wistful and witty higher register vocal that is nothing less that charming, even captivating, with her spoken word insertions. Kinsey and Novak are hot together.

Rodgers & Hart’s My Funny Valentine is given a bluesy treatment with Josh Smith’s guitar and Kinsey’s keyboards. Travis Carlton (bass), Novak and Dutz make this thing swing behind those blues. Melbreeze just owns it.

Rodgers & Hart’s My Funny Valentine is given a bluesy treatment with Josh Smith’s guitar and Kinsey’s keyboards. Travis Carlton (bass), Novak and Dutz make this thing swing behind those blues. Melbreeze just owns it.

Yesterdays by Jerome Kern was written for the 1933 Broadway play Roberta. Irene Dunne performed the song in the 1935 movie version. Dunne’s pure soprano was sorrowful. Melbreeze keeps with hint of melancholy but with a more joyful looking back.

What Lola Wants (Adler & Ross) was sung the Devil’s Assistant in the 1955 play Damn Yankees. The saying was attributed to Lola Montez, the mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Montez was known as a “Spanish dancer” and successfully got whatever she wanted from Ludwig. Melbreeze manages to brings both the diabolical and the desire into her sultry version that is appropriately intoxicating.

Killing Me Softly with His Song (Fox & Gimbel) was inspired by a young Don McLean. Helen Reddy passed on the song because she “didn’t like the title.” Roberta Flack took up the tune and Marvin Gaye encouraged her to never perform it until she had recorded it.

The Fugees would be the only ones of note to record the song, with Lauryn Hill on vocals, in 1996. Melbreeze takes up the song and gives it her personal stamp of cool. Hadrien Feraud introduces the track with a cool electric bass before being joined by Kinsey’s keyboards. The first time she intones killing me softly, she half-groans the word killing. The emotional impact is palpable. The song’s outro is Melbreeze humming over Kinsey’s electric piano. A beautiful farewell.

Melbreeze is a wonder. She can bring laughter, smiles, tears, and sweet memories without fabrication or falseness. Her interpretations of these classics are genuine and heart-felt. The arrangements are spectacular and the vocals are peerless. Melbreeze is one in a million.

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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