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 was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.