Leslie Beukelman is a singer from Chicago with an endearingly small and youthful lilt to her voice that sets the tone for the gentle, heartfelt feel of her music. On this release she performs a mixture of standards and original songs that shows how well she can handle both jazz and soft rock singing.
There is a folkish fragility to Beukelman's original songs. On "Days Of Gray" and "Dear Alice," Beukelman's voice is small and whispery as it hovers over Rob Clearfield's rolling piano with multi-tracked singing added in to give the songs a gauzy, romantic feel. "Alice" adds the faint sound of trumpets in the background, while "Days" floats quietly on a pliable melding of piano and organ that reemerges on "Wasting Time" as a full-fledged country gospel promenade.
Beukelman's approach to most of the standards is more jazz-oriented and highlights a focused intensity in her voice that brings Blossom Dearie to mind. Her singing on "My Shining Hour" glows quietly as the trio of Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and drummer Jon Deitemyer slide around maintaining an understated but sharp groove. Beukelman also has a fun, loping duet with Mulcahy on "Here's That Rainy Day" and does a bit of scatting over the breezy strut of "September In The Rain." She swings hard through "Secret Love" while her performance on "The Nearness Of You" is hushed and solemn. Both the jazz and soft rock approaches combine to good effect on the arrangement of "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life" where harsh piano chords offset Beukelman's graceful, soft-edged vocal.
Leslie Beukelman has a striking voice that conveys emotion subtly and elegantly, a voice that works well with both jazz and folk and rock-oriented songs. Her sound is haunting and personal and she makes a lingering impression on this album.
Dear Alice; I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life; Here's That Rainy Day; My Shining Hour; Days Of Gray;
September In The Rain; Secret Love; The Nearness Of You; Wasting Time.
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