Aimee Allen's debut album provides a generous helping of eleven tunes from the Great American Songbook. The artist, who possesses a bright voice with a good range, takes the opportunity to mix in some bossa nova, as well as the French lyric for "Autumn Leaves," including the rarely heard verse.
While still a student at Yale University, Allen took an active interest in performing with two a cappella groups which specialized in a jazz repetoire. After her graduation, she lived and performed regularly in Paris. The singer's interest in both French music and bossa nova led to the formation of Les Bossa Novices.
Allen shows a fine ability to communicate with a ballad, which she does on the Ellington/Strayhorn classic "Daydream" and Arthur Hamilton's "Cry Me A River," where she's effectively accompanied by guitarist Richard Padron. The other members of her ensemble include pianists Dave Cook or Toru Dodo, bassist Ben Campbell and drummer Brian Woodruff.
Allen's a real affinity for the music of Brazil comes through on her two ventures into the genre (Luis Bonfa's "Manha de Carneval/Black Orpheus" and Jobim's "Triste" are the high points of the album). What was most surprising to me was the addition of an original, "Solitude Blues," where she seems to lighten up a bit, perhaps because she feels more comfortable in that setting.
Track Listing: My Favorite Things; Manha de Carnival/Black Orpheus; Daydream; Cry Me a River; Nature Boy;
Les Feuilles Mortes/Autumn Leaves; Honeysuckle rose; You Stepped Out of a Dream; Triste;
Here's That Rainy Day; Solitude Blues.
Personnel: Aimee Allen: vocals; Dave Cook: piano; Toru Dodo: piano; Richard Padron: guitar (4); Brian
Woodruff: drums; Ben Campbell: bass.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.