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Aimee Allen: Dream

Dan McClenaghan By

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Aimee Allen, a first-rate interpreter of familiar jazz tunes, gives an exotic texture to Dream, with the inclusion of a couple of Brazilian bossas—"Manha de Carneval/Black Orpheus" and Jobim's classic "Triste." With a crystalline delivery, great range and a fine command of nuance and inflection, Allen also covers "Les Feuilles Mortes/Autumn Leaves," with lyrics sung in French. Sensuality and soul color the vocalist's take on Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," which Allen turns into a cool-toned ballad. "Cry Me a River" is a duet performance with guitarist Richard Padron that has a straightforward, engagingly off-the-cuff feeling.

In her college days at Yale University, Aimee Allen was a member of two a cappella groups specializing in the jazz repertoirre, and after graduation she moved to Paris to work on her craft. Dream opens with Allen scatting into "My Favorite Things," accompanied nicely by pianist Dave Cook, who places succinct embellishments around her phrasings. On the classic "Nature Boy" Allens bring in a mix of innocence, sultriness and pure-toned vocal beauty in front of a bubbling rhythm.

Dream is a top-notch vocal effort: a perfectly paced set that mixes jazz standards and bossas with a touch of the blues.

Title: Dream | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced

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