All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

466

Melanie Scholtz: Zillion Miles

Seton Hawkins By

Sign in to view read count
On her debut album, Zillion Miles, vocalist Melanie Scholtz spends a great deal of time demonstrating her chops in multiple genres—deliberately avoiding classification in any sort of mold. It's a daunting style of album to make, though several other South African jazz musicians have been doing it lately, notably Gloria Bosman and Concord Nkabinde. Like these musicians, Scholtz's effort results in some transcendent moments as well as some rough and inconsistent moments, but overall a successful album and an enjoyable listening experience.

Part of the album's success is due to her excellently chosen group of sidemen. In particular, Marcus Wyatt's trumpet and flugelhorn work is stunningly good—especially his slurry, slightly noir solo on "Constant as the Moon." Additionally, Kevin Gibson and Frank Paco both provide sympathetic, intricate drum work, and are both able to adeptly play in multiple styles.

In terms of songwriting, Zillion Miles reveals Scholtz's many strengths, but also at times highlights her limitations. Scholtz's voice is fairly versatile. She cannot belt like Gloria Bosman, but she has a strong R&B voice similar to indie.arie. Consequently, the somewhat folky acoustic numbers, like "Shameless Star" and "Him," are highly enjoyable listens, while songs like "Push" or "Circle," which have a more driving rock-like quality, come off slightly anemic.

Scholtz's greatest success on the album can be heard in two tracks. The first is "Summer Song," a folky indie.arie-style tune flavored with Cape Town ghoema, which offers a taste of her creativity as an artist. Additionally, the reprise of "This Can't Be Love," in which she pares down all the instrumentation to her vocals with bass and drums, is a dark funky groove that has a bite and an edge, reminiscent of Mina Agossi, that's not heard elsewhere on the album.

Ultimately, this album is an enjoyable listen, with enough merit to warrant keeping it in the rotation. While sometimes the genre-hopping doesn't quite work out, and Scholtz's songwriting gifts are not fully realized on some of the tracks, Zillion Miles still showcases a self-assured artist who is willing to stretch herself into new territories.

Note: this is available from One World on the web.

Track Listing: This Can't Be Love (a capella); Shameless Star; You Can Hold the World; Circle; Constant As the Moon; Summer Song; Standing on the White Line; Him; Everything You Need; Zillion Miles; Push; Another Day; Brighter Days; This Can't Be Love (reprise).

Personnel: Melanie Scholtz: vocals; Gorm Helfjord: guitars; Shane Cooper: bass; Mark Fransman: saxophone; Kevin Gibson: drums; Frank Paco: drums; Sean ou Tim: drums; Tony Paco: percussion; Ronan Skillen: tablas and didgeridoo; Shaun Johannes: double bass; Denay Willie: vocals; Buddy Wells: saxophone; Marcus Wyatt: trumpet; Zwayi Mvimbi: vocals; Thor Kvande: vocals and keyboards; Chelsea Daniels: vocals.

Title: Zillion Miles | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Loudberry

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Contemporary Chaos Practices CD/LP/Track Review
Contemporary Chaos Practices
by Don Phipps
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Changed Beings CD/LP/Track Review
Changed Beings
by Chris May
Published: November 16, 2018
Read We Must Mustn't We CD/LP/Track Review
We Must Mustn't We
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You. CD/LP/Track Review
Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Palmares Fantasy" CD/LP/Track Review Palmares Fantasy
by Chris May
Published: May 28, 2018
Read "Atody Man" CD/LP/Track Review Atody Man
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 5, 2018
Read "Hide Ye Idols" CD/LP/Track Review Hide Ye Idols
by Troy Collins
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "The Groove Hunter" CD/LP/Track Review The Groove Hunter
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 24, 2018
Read "Starting Today" CD/LP/Track Review Starting Today
by Chris May
Published: April 5, 2018
Read "Awareness" CD/LP/Track Review Awareness
by Chris May
Published: August 4, 2018