Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Kayle Brecher, This is Life

Jazz singer Kayle Brecher deserves your attention. Her album This is Life (Penchant Four S1293P4) makes for us a stimulating program of originals and rearranged classics, "Moon Dreams," for example, which you may well remember in the Flora Purim waxing, here with harp (Gloria Galante), guitar (Frank Butrey) and some excellent bass from Ratso Harris. She takes chances and improvises well around the song structure. She gives us nicely lyricised versions of "Red Clay" and "Dolphin's Dance." And the originals are rootsy, establishing for herself a soulful home base.

The varying instrumentation is a nice element here, too. Harp (Galante or Brandee A. Younger) brings an open, cosmic touch to many of the numbers. The aforementioned Butrey has some excellent guitar flourishes. Ratzo is a beautiful constant on bass. The formidable Grant Calvin Weston holds forth nicely on drums. Cameo appearances by Matt Cappy on trumpet, Benjamin Sutin, violin, and David Dzubinsky on piano make it continually new and jazzworthy.

It is one of those albums that sounds and feels right, loose and performative from first to last. Kayle is the complete vocalist, the complete leader on this date. And it is serious fun! Listen.

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