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Vocalist/composer/arranger Aimée Allen exists as a whole, self-sustaining entity. Her round, sensuous alto has only smooth edges with a caress of warm linen. Her songwriting (and that which she does with brother David Allen) is top-notch, fully formed and in abundance on Winters & Mays. But it is her singing that is exceptional, particularly on the standards mash-up "Bye Bye Blackbird/It Could Happen to You."
Accompanied only by guitarist Pete McCann and bassist Craig Akin, Allen begins in mid-swing, singing the first chorus to "Bye Bye Blackbird" like she means it and understands the ballad. Allen injects a chorus of "It Could Happen to You" next, followed by more of "Blackbird." At the transition point, Akin switches to a straight 4/4 with a momentum to clear the head. McCann solos with a spry intelligence, never overdoing his time, exhibiting taste. Allen weaves the two songs together with similar taste, as only the best singers can do.
Personnel: Aimée Allen: vocals; Pete McCann: guitar; Craig Akin: bass.
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.