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 it's been a life's work.
I was first exposed to jazz by my father.
I met Hampton Hawes.
The best show I ever attended was Les McCann.
The first jazz record I bought was Herbie Hancock.
My advice to new listeners is to listen at a comfortable volume.