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Ellen Honert possesses a perfectly balanced alto voice that easily modulates between the many highs and lows she employs in her singingand Breath of the Soul requires much of this from her. Softly Latin in overall character and instrumentation, this music provides a humid and languid blanket for Honert's sensual craft.
In addition to her vocal facility, Honert has a way of attracting big-name talent to her cause. "Life is What You Make it was composed with guitarist Tuck Andres and sports the guitarist as accompanist to the duet of Honert and Patti Cathcart. The next piece, the well-reasoned original "Spring," uses the Turtle Island String Quartet as an abstract, almost obtuse vehicle.
George Duke's "Someday teams Honert with vocalist Tony Lindsay in a thumping piece of adult contemporary jazz that deserves much more attention that it has received. Stevie Wonder's "If it's Magic continues in this adult contemporary vein, without the punchy electric keyboardssuggesting that Wonder may provide the new book for future "standards.
Honert takes on the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life. The Beatles' music is largely a mine field for jazz interpretation because of the iconic nature of the band the huge population of Baby Boomers who do not want to tread on that iconism. Regardless, Honert and her band seamlessly transform the pop classic into a very functional contemporary jazz vehicle.
Ellen Honert is a singer's singer. There is nothing flashy in her approach, in spite of her considerable chops. Breath of the Soul is a solidly enjoyable vocal outing.
Track Listing: Blue; Life Is What You Make It; Spring; Two Lonely People; Someday; Love Dance; Hope; If It's Magic; Got to Get You Into My Life; Away; Never Let Me Go; Inspiratie.
Personnel: Ellen Honert, Tony Lindsey: vocals; Dori Caymmi, Ray Fuller, Tuck Andress: guitar; Frank Martin: piano and arrangements; Pedro Eustache: flute; Alex acuna: percussion; Abraham Laboriel, Jr., Joel Smith: bass; Abraham Laboriel, Sr., William Kennedy: drums; Evan Price, David Balakrishnan: violins; Mads Tolling: viola; Mark Summer: cello; Mark Russo: alto saxophone; Andy Narell: steel pans.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.