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New Reviews:

From Norman Weinstein, currently covering jazz for The Christian Science Monitor, winner of the Deems Taylor-ASCAP award for jazz journalism, author of A Night in Tunisia: Imaginings of Africa in Jazz:

"Your singing is wonderful! Absolutely! Unique, lyrical, individual. Believe you’re the best female vocalist I’ve heard in a long time."

From Walter Kolosky for

Kelsey Jillette: Turn Out the Stars, The Water Is Wide (CAP 1016)

What a pleasure it is to hear the talented jazz vocalist Kelsey Jillette. Above and beyond her distinctive voice, and the talented musicians she has surrounded herself with, is an admiration for the material she has chosen to interpret. The songs range from composers such as Rodgers & Hart, Fats Waller, and Billy Strayhorn to Paul Simon. Each presentation is 100% modern in arrangement, instrumentation and style.

Music author Gene Lees wrote the lyrics to the classic Bill Evans melody "Turn out the Stars," which Jillette sings above a shuffle intro. She has an intriguing voice. It is breathy, yet has a deepness at the same time. She enunciates in a cool emphatic manner that compels you to listen to every word. The instrumental break is proof that the Kelsey Jillette Group is not simply a backing band for a talented vocalist. Drummer Adam Pache's beats support the very fine efforts of guitarist Hiro Honma, baritone saxophonist Tom Abbott and B-3 player Brad Whiteley. On "Turn out the Stars," Whiteley's role is especially impressive. (He and Jillette arranged the piece as well, which may be a clue to his performance.) The Kelsey Jillette Group is the real deal. You need to give them a listen.

From Walter Kolosky for

Kelsey Jillette: Medley – Hot House / What Is This Thing Called Love?

Every time I hear a version of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House," my eyes and ears return to the one-of-a-kind video clip of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie putting the tune through its paces. Though the "Hot House" heard here is a lifetime and galaxy away from beboppers Bird & Diz, it is born of the same spirit. Kelsey Jillette sings the melody vocalese-style above a throbbing bassline provided by organist Brad Whiteley and guitarist Hiro Honma. Soon, the lyrics from "What Is This Thing Called Love?" are coming from Jillette's lips. She owns some well-honed pipes and the emotive powers to use them effectively. The tune takes on a slight Latin feel even as the music becomes denser. Jillette eventually adds a touch of Latin scat herself. Interestingly, the arrangement catches a deep groove but is still somewhat at odds with itself. This tension is explored even as Jillette's voice stays above the fray. Absent her voice, this performance would still make a good jam-band number, given how talented these players are. Yet together, vocalist and musicians creatively transform historic material into an engaging modern mode. This is what playing the standards should be all about. You know, making the music your own. Such distinctive arrangements and performances help make jazz the timeless music it is.

Composed by Bill Evans & Gene Lees. Musicians: Kelsey Jillette (vocals, shakers), Tom Abbott (baritone sax), Brad Whiteley (B-3 organ), Hiro Honma (guitar), Adam Pache (drums)

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