Jeanne Trevor has been a fixture in St. Louis entertainment and community service arenas for almost 40 years. After all those years, the Catalyst label has provided the chance to make her own album. Nowhere does that well worn phrase, "it's about time" have more meaning than here. Ms Trevor has all the vocal tools and she knows how to use them. Her refreshing use of wordless vocalizing as she moves back and forth between regular "words" and scat in the same set of lyrical phrases is shown on "Love You Madly". She uses swooping to give meaning to the lyrics, rather than distorting them as often happens with singers who are not adroit with this vocal maneuver. Trevor is also works in foreign languages. Her very poignant "When the World Was Young" is done partially in French. Her Spanish is so good on "Anna" she sounds like a native of a Latin American country.
Trevor's vocals and delivery are a fascinating combination of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. She has the verve, brightness and range which characterized Fitzgerald, but also calls upon the phrasing, ornamentation and melodic variation that was so uniquely Holiday's. Listen to her tremor and wrenching of "lazy" in "Lazy Afternoon". She is at ease with all types of tunes and tempos. "Early in the Morning" is as a swinging a blues as you're going to hear these days and "What a Difference a Day Made" would make Dinah Washington sit up and take notice. She transforms bop anthem, "Work Song", into a R & B tale of a chain gang convict pounding rocks into dust. Simon Rowe and the other members of the rhythm section do some outstanding solo here. Old tent revival gospel preaching and signifyin' is captured in the traditional "Give Me Jesus".
Usually it's the pianist who provides the bulk of support for a vocalist. Without talking anything away from Rowe, it's the tenor of Willie Akins which, as much as anything, makes this album a pleasure to listen to. Like Trevor, he can take his saxophone to whatever level is necessary to bring out the best in the vocalist.
Trevor received a Grammy for her work on commercials. Consideration for another award for jazz vocals should not be beyond the realm of possibility. Love You Madly is one of the finest vocal albums I've heard this year.
Tracks:Love You Madly; Visit Me; When the World Was Young; Anna; Sleeping Bee; Lazy Afternoon; Early in the Morning; What a Difference a Day Made; Work Song; Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most; Give Me Jesus; Stompin' at the Savoy
Personnel: Jeanne Trevor - Vocals; Willie Atkins - Tenor Saxophone; Simon Rowe - Piano; Willem von Hombracht - Bass; Montez Coleman - Drums