Aug 12 2014
So, based on some cover songs from her previous two releases, I suggested that vocalist Nicky Schrire might benefit from an album consisting of just Beatles tunes. Wisely ignoring my advice, Schrire returns with an EP of originals, and it’s pretty damn charming. With a trio that includes pianist Fabian Almazan and bassist Desmond White, Schrire’s To the Spring deftly toes the line between pop music catchiness and vocal jazz complexity.
Schrire repeatedly proves she’s capable of running a contortionist’s act with her vocal chords. Both “Your Love” and title-track “To the Spring” have Schrire hitting the sweet spot between sudden modulations and streamlined fluidity. On the former, it works especially well in combination with the nifty rhythmic interplay between Almazan and White… an undercurrent that raises the song up a level, going so far as to overshadow the dramatic finish. It’s a similar highlight that marks the success of “Father,” which gets the piano-bass duo further out front.
However, it’s when Schrire reins it in and works the song from a pop angle that the music really shines. The bittersweet love song “Traveler” has Schrire telling a tale of two heartbreaks, and then, later, on “Give It Away,” her advice to avoid that fate is offered up with a sweet simplicity carried on the back of a pretty melody.
And Schrire shows that the pop music atmosphere doesn’t have to be a permanent thing for a song to achieve success. No better example of this than “Fall Apart,” which comes out with some pretty embellishments adorning a mean song structure… the kind of catchiness that dares you to forget it. And without discarding any of those qualities, Schrire’s voice gets increasingly playful, less “pop,” which in combination with the lyrical kiss of White’s bass solo, the song is just as likely to hold strong appeal to jazz vocals fans as it would to those who turn on the radio to hear a pretty tune.
It’s easy enough to lose track of the intelligence of these songs amidst their eminent tunefulness.
Maybe a Beatles tribute album some other time, yeah?
Your album personnel: Nicky Schrire (voice), Fabian Almazan (piano), and Desmond White (double bass).
The album is Self-Produced.
Album cover art by Johannes Felscher.
Jazz from NYC.
Some of this review was used originally in the weekly new jazz releases column I write for eMusic’s Wondering Sound, so here’s some language protecting their rights to the reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…
“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2014 eMusic.com, Inc.
As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.