Halie Loren: Butterfly Blue

C. Michael Bailey By

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All About Jazz collegue R.J. Deluke published a lengthy piece on Alaska-now-Oregon native vocalist Halie Loren. In that piece, DeLuke concludes:

"Loren is also in a place vocally where her sound has moved away from influence and is her own. Emulating her favorites, and learning from that in years, are behind. Her phrasing and her presentation are seasoned. They move to unexpected places. It is Halie Loren's voice."

And in that, lies what is most exceptional about Loren...that voice. For her considerable and impressive training, Loren retains an authenticity, a realness that is usually the first causality of focused study. Not so with Loren. Her voice is the one you heard next door while raking the yard. It is simple and tuneful and full of those original, personal, and internally-focused elements that are as specific as a fingerprint or personal genome. Loren brings that voice, her compositional and arranging skills, and a damn good band to the opening, "Yellow Bird" on her eighth recording, Butterfly Blue. It is a piece with a gentle melody that owes as much to the Beatles as to Weimar Berlin Cabaret. She knows how to use the low brass of Joe Freuen and Rob Birdwell to cushion a song full of whimsy and love.

Loren is daring in her choices for standards. Who in their right mind chooses "Stormy Weather" as a vehicle? Loren does, and she turns its arrangement on its ear, turning the warhorse into a 21st Century cabaret performance that is, at once, well behaved and beautifully genre-depraved. Long-time partner pianist Matt Treder draws from influences far and wide to effect the heady potion presented here. Loren's "Butterfly" reveals itself as the lovechild of James Taylor and Roebuck Staples at Midnight Mass" with Aretha Franklin. Guitarist David Gallo finds his Stax Records jones and recasts its spirit at the tip of the Delta. "Our Love is Here to Stay" comes in high in a groove auction, freshly arranged. David Larsen adds a smoky baritone sax solo to this scrubbed terrain that sports a grand duet between Treder and bassist Mark Schneider. Loren transforms "I've Got You Under My Skin similarly, but saves her best for her recasting of Horace Sliver's Peace, replete with her newly minted lyrics.

This recording almost got away this year. I and we would be less if that had happened.

Track Listing: Yellow Bird; I Wish You Love; Blue; Stormy Weather; Butterfly; After the Fall; Our Love is Here to Stay; I’ve Got You Under My Skin; Danger in Loving You; Boulevard of broken dreams.

Personnel: Halie Loren: vocals; Daniel Gallo, William Seiji Marsh: guitars; Matt Treder: piano; Mark Schnieder: bass; Brian West: drums; David Larsen: tenor saxophone; Dana Heitman: trumpet; Joe Freuen: trombone; Rob Birdwell: flugelhorn; Katheryn Dudney: cello.

Title: Butterfly Blue | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Justin Time Records

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