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Canada has long been the breeding ground for jazz musicians and vocalists, pianist Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall being notable examples. Vancouver-native Jaclyn Guillou is a multi-talented performer (song, dance and stage) who has carved out both an Old and New World presence. She released her first recording in 2011, To The City, a collection of standards are original compositions. She follows this recording with the present The Lover's Walk where she commands creation of seven probing compositions recorded in Belgium with her European quartet (she sported a Canadian quintet on her previous disc).
The Lover's Walk is a slim collection, perhaps too slim to be called an album but too long to be considered an EP (kind of like a "little big band"). It is a moody piece of work ranging from the Norma Winstone-inspired title piece that reveals Guillou's beautifully pliant and precise voice to the staccato-contemporary-inspired "If You." One hears notes of Billie Holiday and Rickie Lee Jones with a hint of Madeleine Peyroux. That said, Guillou's voice is such a seamless synthesis that it is wholly unique. The ballad "Restless" is airy with pianist Bram Weijters' spacious flourishes. Guillou sings spaciously, floating above her piano partner, sometimes forcefully emotive, sometimes sotto voce.
"Sometimes" is an assertive, up-tempo piece approximating the sophisticated urban-pace of traffic, propelled by Weijters' rolling block chords. The pianst gets his blues chops on effectively. The disc ends on the most traditionally harmonic piece, "Goodbye December." Guillou gives a reverent performance well supported by Weijters. This is the sound of genre crossover at its most successful.
Track Listing: The Lover’s Walk; Burning Question; If You; Restless; The Road;
Sometimes; Goodbye December.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.