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British Columbia vocalist Dawn Aitken is a first-call recording studio veteran whose voice has been heard on numerous radio and TV commercials. In spite of her strong voice, Be Cool is a rather uneven mix of pop, blues and jazz. The CD opens with a fine reading of Hoagy Carmichael’s classic The Nearness Of You, a song perfectly suited to Aitken’s warm, sultry voice. Unfortunately, her rendition of pop tunes like Smilin’ Faces (track 2) and Love Potion #9 (track 4) don’t come close to sustaining the excellent standard she set with the opening cut. Later, Aitken does score with the lovely ballads, When The Fire Goes Out, Until The Real Thing Comes Along and the jaunty Better Or Worse, a tune by quirky songwriter Dave Frishberg. Listeners will detect a number of influences in Aitken’s delivery – a touch of Ella, shades of Sarah, a smidgen of Holly Cole and a trace of Diana Krall. Aitken certainly possesses all the necessary vocal “tools,” all she has to do is establish her own identity and be a little more judicious in her song choices. Nevertheless, Be Cool is a promising first step. ### (out of four)
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.