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Thisbe Vos: Under Your Spell

C. Michael Bailey By

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First, there is that name...Thisbe Vos. It is not merely exotic; it is something much more than that, something mythic. Dutch-born, living the dream in America's land of Milk and Honey—LA—Vos, by her looks, voice, repertoire, composing...demands attention, and gets it without ever raising her voice. Her debut, two years percolating, Under Your Spell is a fully realized throwback that doesn't sound a day over the rainbow. Made up of five standards and six smacking, swinging originals, Under Your Spell goes a long way towards blowing on the coals of mainstream jazz vocals.

Vos' compositions fit seamlessly with the standards. "Shanghai Blues" is a breezy 12-bar-walking romp Sinatra would have loved. It is perfectly seasoned with Geoff Nudell's tart clarinet playing. The ballad title piece with lightly accented strings recalls Nelson Riddle and Billy May, Vos sings with a voice of silk and champagne, Carl Randall's tenor saxophone providing a nice obligato. "That's Alright With Me" perfectly segues out of the Van Heusen/Mercer classic "I Thought About You," again complemented by Randall's throaty tenor.

The stand-out instrumentalist is Nudell whose reed range is broad and wide. He adds a slight sepia tone to the music without making it sound archaic. Vos turns out to be the total performance package. Within the thick stream of "traditional" jazz vocalists, one that is clotted with such a quantity of talent, Vos rises to the top. She entered a brutal creative market and topped it all in a single recording of such grace and personality, that this year is unlikely to see a mainstream vocal offering as fine again.

Track Listing: Shanghai Blues; Under Your Spell; I Thought About You; That’s Alright With Me; I Need You; “Round Midnight; He’s a Tramp; Now You Are Here; Just a Fool for You; Rue de la Huchette; Always; Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Personnel: Thisbe Vos: vocals; Gary Matsumoto: piano; Henry Franklin: bass; Donald Dean: drums; Nolan Shaheed: trumpet; Geoff Nudell: reeds; Carl Randall: tenor saxophone; Michael Higgins: guitar; The Pasadena String Ensemble.

Title: Under Your Spell | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

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