Jay Clayton: Free Me


Free Me


Jay Clayton (vocals)


The Peace of Wild Things (Sunnyside 1198)

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Jay Clayton (vocals),

with electronics


Composed by Jay Clayton, with words from e.e. cummings


Recorded: New Platz, New York, July-August, 2007


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

"I want to sing like birds sing," Jay Clayton announces midway through this performance. And—dang!!—the lady pulls it off. Give Olivier Messiaen a mike and, I guarantee, he couldn't do better than Ms. Clayton in vocalizing a type of ornithology the beboppers never knew. Of course, this vocalist has long demonstrated that jazz singing can be more than the usual cabaret rehash. But here Clayton delivers one of the freshest and freest releases of the year. She tosses aside the standards. She does without a rhythm section. Much of the time she works without words, too. But the more Jay Clayton tosses overboard, the higher she soars. If you have given up on jazz singers, thinking that only pretty boys and glamour gals are releasing CDs these days . . . well, think again. This CD is an aural trick and treat, coming just in time for Halloween.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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