All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

177

Madeline Eastman: The Speed of Life

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Have you ever been in a club, or sat listening to a live recording, when a tenor saxophonist blows a solo in the middle of a standard, and it stays pretty much faithful to the theme for a bit, then stretches out into some unexpected – beautifully so – variations of theme, while still hanging onto it? A small, gorgeous musical surprise that makes someone in the audience moan: "Oh!" And a beat latter he sighs: "yeah..."

I found myself doing this with Madeline Eastman's The Speed of Life, at least a couple of times per tune. While a tenor player does it with notes, Madeline Eastman does it with syllables strung together into distinctive phrases. No tenor here; it's the vocalist who's eliciting these responses, with a distinctive and personal style of phrasing and intonation on a set of mostly standards – and, wisely, not the ones you hear every day.

I'm a believer – to an extent – of first impressions, and Eastman's disc, on an intitial listen, made me me think of Sinatra, not because she's covering a few of the songs that Old Blue Eyes preferred. Or because she sounds like him. She doesn't. But man, has she developed a personal and very engaging style of phrasing a lyric, matched with a delivery that is seemingly effortless. A palpable self-confidence, a Sinatra-esue aplomb. I doubt she wears a fedora tilted at a rakish angle, but that's the attitude that comes across. Sometimes she whispers, or purrs, or chats confidentially, and sometimes she just belts it out. Forthrightness – another Sinatra attribute – seems to be her stock in trade.

The Speed of Life showcases Eastman's vocal talent in front of a superb quartet (and sometimes quintet, with an additional percussionist) anchored by bassist Rufus Reid's big, round, assertive sound. He seems a perfect and stolid musical soulmate for Eastman. Pianist Randy Porter uses a less-is-more approach, leaving astutely placed silences for Eastman to fill.

Eastman has developed quite an original sound with a great vocal range. Mix up Carmen McRae's chops (and a touch of Carmen's attitude) and some Billie Holiday with a dash or two of Ella (though her scatting is not Ella-like at all). Six of the twelve selections on the disc are Richard Rogers tunes, including an almost hip-hop version of "Do I Hear a Waltz" which features Reid's rubbery bass lines puntuated by Akira Tana's snappy rat-ta-tat drums, sliced through with Mike Olmos' muted trumpet work – showing those hip-hop guys how it should be done. The rather subtle Rodgers/Hammerstein gem "We Kiss in a Shadow" starts out a wistful and clandestine mood that gradually swells to a bold proclamation of forbidden love.

It's a crowded field, but this is one of the finest lady vocalist discs of the year.

Visit Madeline Eastman on the web at www.madelineeastman.com .


Track Listing: Alone Together, Someday We'll All Be Free, Do I Hear a Waltz, Up on the Roof, There's a Small Hotel, We Kiss in a Shadow, Dancing on the Ceiling, Wait Till You See Her, If I Should Lose You, Get Happy, Jogral, Where or When

Personnel: Madeline Eastman--vocals; Randy Porter--piano; Rufua Reid--bass; Akira Tana--drums; Mike Olmos--drums; with Michael Spiro--percussion

Title: The Speed Of Life | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Mad-Kat

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Think Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Think Ahead
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "44/876" CD/LP/Track Review 44/876
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!" CD/LP/Track Review You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "Incidentals" CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Before, Now & After" CD/LP/Track Review Before, Now & After
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "Flaneur" CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018