Vocalist/Composer Kayle Brecher Releases "Spy Music"


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With a foot in tradition, a hand stretched toward the future and a clear sense of statement, Kayle Brecher is at once completely distinctive and an amalgamation of her great musical influences. Start with hints of Morgana King and Sheila Jordan, add equal parts Ella and Sarah; stir briskly with vision, intelligence, passion, authenticity and a good sense of self; add a healthy dose of irony and humor; wrap in a supple instrument; blend perfectly into the fabric of each cleverly crafted arrangement and cook to perfection via the hand picked ensembles on this recording. Not your usual vocal fare.

Spy Music, jazz singer/composer Kayle Brecher's newest release is bold, playful and powerful eclectic jazz, featuring many of Philadelphia's finest musicians. This recording is an enticing journey through a variety of moods, textures and settings, mainstream and beyond, once again proving that this is a singer whose voice and arrangements transcend boundaries.

Brecher, who is known for her unusual and inventive settings, continues to explore on this, her fourth, CD. “So Complicated" is a surprising mix of a slightly outside sax quartet with intricately woven vocals. “Teardrops for Jimmy", which flows dreamily in and out of rubatos, tempos and feels, is a premiere vocal ballad gem arranged by Kayle and written by Dave Burrell and Monika Larsson as a tribute to bassist Jimmy Garrison. The tune “Spy Music" is performed with a quintet that features Kayle and two gifted funk guitarists, Jef Lee Johnson and Ron Jennings, with Chico Huff (bass) and Eric Johnson (drums) on two takes of unpredictable improvisational, both of which are included on this recording. “Cool" is an eye opening, hard swinging, dissonant and yet playful, unique version of the West Side Story tune. Then there is “Under Paris Skies", a musical feast that utilizes South American, African and European rhythms melded together, highlighting percussionist Edgardo Cintron, Todd Groves' piccolo, and an incredibly passionate solo by guitarist Frank Butrey. 'Autumn Leaves', as you've never heard it before, is presented by a trio consisting of Kayle's vocals, piano (David Dzubinski) and percussion (Edgardo Cintron). “Power and the Glory" is folk legend Phil Ochs' unsentimental and poignant tribute to America in a setting of voice and drums with piccolo weaving in and out; a swinging, heartfelt and picturesque march. “My World is Empty Without You" (in a medley with “When You Were in My World") is not your momma's Diana Ross. Its reharmonized setting, stark and dramatic, is naked voice supported only by bari saxophonist Bill Zaccagni's strong swing, and enhanced sparingly with occasional drums. Pure straight ahead swing is also represented here by the highly spirited “This Can't Be Love" and “Old Coat" as well as Brecher's original “Glad Bag", all three freshly done with mainstream ensemble combinations. In short, this CD is full of original ideas, variety and experimentation.

Featured along with Kayle's vocals are Jef Lee Johnson, Ron Jennings, Frank Butrey, guitars; Ben Schachter, tenor sax; Ron Kerber, soprano sax; Tony Salicandro, alto sax; Bill Zaccagni, baritone sax; Todd Groves, piccolo; David Dzubinski, piano; Chico Huff, Paul Klinefelter, bass; Grant MacAvoy, Eric Johnson, Tony Deangelis, drums; and Edgardo Cintron, percussion.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz.
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