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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.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.