The death of the Great American Songbook as a vehicle for aspiring singers is sometimes announced. Someone should tell the singers. Because this season alone has seen a crop of good recordings, most of them reviewed in AAJ, and very favorably so in the main. Tracye Eileen, a Chicago vocalist with roots in the jazz community, continues the stream to good effect.
While the recording is rather brief at 29 minutes, and the live section suggests an after-the-fact decision to go for a full-blown recording, neither reflects on the quality of the vocals, the band, the arrangements, or even the production. Eileen has a voice that recalls the edgy vibrato of some swing brass players, which is all to the good. There is something about her delivery that recalls Nancy Wilson, as much in her emotional impact as in any stylistic similarity. While looking for labels tempts a listener to label her a belter, "The End of a Love Affair" is more of a scorching torch song, and a good one.
"This Can't Be Love" moves along smartly, and features a good bass solo on a recording in which the bassists, Stewart Miller and Paul Martin, are conspicuously musical. "The Very Thought of You," is, well, thoughtful. "Just in Time" has Eileen singing the verse, and changing the feel of the entire tune, aside from hitting it straight on the beat on the way out, which is different too. "Almost Like Being in Love" strikes a Latin note, and one almost wishes Eileen had switched into straight swing midway through the first chorus for contrast, but that is entirely the artist's choice. When she sings "I Love Being Here With You," she is persuasive, and sounds as if she is pushing the band rather than vice versa.
Hard to find much to quibble with, other than the relative brevity of the recording. But maybe that is all to the good, because listening to more of Tracye Eileen is certainly an attractive idea.
I Love Being Here with You; You Hit the Spot; They Can’t Take That Away from Me; Almost
Like Being in Love; The Very Thought of You; Just in Time; This Can’t Be Love; The End of a
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