Another fine young singer enters what has suddenly become an overcrowded arena with a large number of newcomers striving to become the next Ella, Sarah or Billie. Diana Krall, mostly by virtue of her blonde good looks and sultry demeanor, is the current front-runner among the younger set with Jane Monheit receiving a lot of attention, perhaps more than she deserves at this stage of her career, and the underrated Karrin Allyson drawing some notice as well. Like Allyson, Marcelle Gauvin is multi-lingual, singing in English, Portuguese ("Limão") and French ("L'étang") on her debut(?) album, The Edge of the Pond.
Gauvin has a clear soprano voice, splendid diction and secure intonation. What she doesn't have, at least not yet, is a style or sound that sets her apart from her peers. Gauvin also runs the risk of being upstaged by her companions, each of whom is excellent, especially tenor saxophonist Dino Govoni who makes the most of his every opportunity to shine. Meanwhile, the rhythm component ? pianist John Harrison, bassist Brian Torff, drummer Alan Hall lends Gauvin the kind of support that would please even the most fastidious of singers. Turning to Gauvin's choice of songs, she has (we believe) picked at least three winners, namely the standards "I Believe in You," "By Myself" and "You Stepped Out of a Dream," others that are less engaging, such as Lennon / McCartney's "Fixin' a Hole" (a duet with bassist Torff) and Sammy Cahn's "Dedicated to You," with the others somewhere in between. She's charming on "Limão" and "L'étang," and the album derives its name from a lyric in the latter song. Gauvin swings nicely on Horace Silver's Jazz classic, "Doodlin'," and imbues the lesser-known tunes "Saturday," "Double Rainbow" and "Laughing at Life" with a suitable measure of honest emotion. While she remains several rungs removed from the top of the ladder, Gauvin has begun her climb as a Jazz singer in a generally impressive manner.
Contact: Whaling City Sound, 560 Pleasant Street, PMB #01, New Bedford, MA 02740?6236. Web site, www.whalingcitysound.com
Personnel: Marcelle Gauvin, vocals; Dino Govoni, tenor saxophone; John Harrison, piano; Brian Torff, bass; Alan Hall, drums.