Ellynne Plotnick: I Walk Alone (2006)
Unlike her first album, Daydream, which was drawn from the Great American Songbook, Ellynne Plotnick's second effort contains a dozen tracks, half of which are written, or co-written by the artist. Plotnick's singing style comes mostly from Sheila Jordan; she has studied with the veteran performer, as well as Jay Clayton and Mark Murphy. Not having heard Daydream, I would be curious to do so, since the standards on this new album are clearly more of a highlight than her excursions into original materal.
The album starts well on the Bob Dorough/Fran Landesman piece "Small Day Tommorrow," a favorite of cabaret and ballad singers, with a downtempo delivery. The following song, Ralph Rainger's "If I Should Lose You," is a well-constructed ballad with Plotnick bringing out the sense of love expressed by the lyrics. Likewise, her version of the Washington/Young classic "My Foolish Heart" is well-delivered, as are the final tracks on the album: "Don't Blame Me," "Get Out of Town" and "While We're Young."
Only the Plotnick originals, three co-written with pianist/arranger Dan Furman, are an acquired taste. I say that since I found the songs in question gained something after a second listen. Perhaps on a third go-around, they would all come out winners, but, in all fairness, I want to pass along a reaction that's not based upon too many spins. "Chair Song," a humorous take about the obsessive seeking and collection of jazz memorabilia and recordings, is the best of the bunch. All of the others are slow and rather plain ballads with titles like "Don't Misunderstand Me," "The Absence of Light" and "I Walk Alone."
Four of the tracks were recorded at NYC's Triad Theatre, giving them a more spontaneous crowd reaction.
Track Listing: Small Day Tomorrow; If I Should Lose You; The Absence of Light; I Walk Alone; Chair Song; My Foolish Heart; Don't Misunderstand Me; Illusions; Don't Blame Me; Get Out of Town (aka "Free-Jazz Afro-Cuban Freakout"); While We're Young.
Personnel: Ellynne Plotnick: vocals/arrangements; Dan Furman: piano/arrangements; Tom Pietrycha: bass; Yuji Nakamura: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced