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 it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.