Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Better than the best
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 12/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having just seen the Amazon jazz best-seller list with two albums by the same artist, one entitled "The Best of D. K.," I had to ask myself if that really is the best Amazon has to offer in hip, swinging female pianist-singers. This eponymous album by Ellyn certainly suggests otherwise. Ellyn's piano improvising is not as "patterned" as the other artist's, and her vocal quality is not quite as limited in range and emotion, but if like me you see these differences more as positives than liabilities, then this CD certainly merits a listener's closest attention. Moreover, Ellyn is apparently not sufficiently concerned about her own celebrity or "stardom" to be hesitant to share the stage with other top soloists, whether pianists (Eric Gunnison, on one album) or, on this occasion, with near-legendary tenor sax giant Pete Christlieb. But here's the potential kicker: the rhythm section of John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton is the same as the one preferred (and richly rewarded, I'm sure) by that other singer. Maybe they owe Ellyn a royalty check or two for helping get them in shape for these kinds of sessions.
Ellyn also deserves commendation for her choice of repertory. Rather than provide inferior face-lifts to overly familiar material that has already received definitive treatment by the likes of Sinatra (e.g. "I've Got You Under My Skin), she goes for the jewels that Old Blue may have missed: "You're Everything I Love," "All This and Heaven, Too." The program on this occasion may be a bit "hard core" for some listeners, as the instrumental work practically upstages the vocals, and the setlist, while quintessentially tasteful, leans to some rarities in the Great American Songbook. "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," though not familiar to many listeners, is a "go to" number for musicians like Sonny Rollins, Coltrane, Getz, Desmond, Hank Mobley and Sonny Stitt. "Round Midnight" is a tune whose angular melodic contours and demanding intonation would rule out lesser musicians, especially vocalists. The final medley features Ellyn's solo piano and voice on a felicitous combination of three standards, mixing tried and true sentiment with cool and communicative sophistication."